Friday, November 5, 2010

Ten Thousand Years and Counting

A thin box formed of simple plexiglas is all that separates my fingers from ten-thousand year old mastodon teeth. I turn my head upside down, bend knees, squint my eyes--all the while looking like a circus contortionist as I try to see each side of the teeth.

Granddaddy holds up Wyatt. Thin fingers instantly poke at the glass, getting him as close as possible to objects just out of reach. Like me, they, too, want to feel the smoothness of enamel turned crystal and stone, to explore the mountains and valleys that once ground herbs and grasses to small bits.

After reading Mammoths on the Move (on woolly mammoths and saber tooth tigers) for two weeks, today, my parents helped me take the children to visit a small art exhibit at our State's flagship university.

On the way home, I realized we didn't give the modern art a second glance. What captivated all of us were the objects that gave a glimpse into another time, another world, one filled with fierce-looking allosaurus dinosaurs, saber tooth tigers with enormous fangs, and long-tusked mastodons. Another filled with Civil War memorabilia and a hand-stitched dress with an intricately-puffed hemline that demonstrated skills exceeding those of many fashion artisans today.
This fascination with things old, with priceless antiquities tucked carefully behind glass--I can't remember a time when these objects didn't hold my attention. And now, they draw near my curious children.

On a trip to London early in our marriage, I dragged my husband through every floor and room of the city's famous museums, my eyes glittering like a school girl as they lit on object after object previously only encountered on the glossy-colored pages of books.

I would fly across the oceans, drive through miles of construction traffic--all to see these pieces that have withstood the test of time.

Then it hit me--I own something more precious, something older than mastodons, dresses, or even time itself--the Word of God.

There is no woman watching from the corner to ensure I keep oily fingers off its leaf-thin pages. There is no sheet of plexiglas keeping me at arm's reach from what will fill a thirsty soul.

Thank you God for this living, breathing, eternal "artifact" that beckons me to touch, examine, and explore. Make it my heart's desire to learn as much about it and, through it, as much about you as you will reveal to me. Make that desire exceed even that of learning about other parts of your creation in time's past and present.


  1. Too often, I have treated this work of art like its untouchable....

    In Sunday School, we give our kids pens, highlighters and sticky notes. We encourage them to mark up their Bibles, highlight their favorite passages ... make this ART a part of themselves.

    Beautiful post, Jennifer. Just beautiful.

  2. Amazing this treasure He gives us... I'm with the Jennifers here. Handle it, explore it, work it over and just try to wear it out. ;)