I had a brilliant morning yesterday holding a book sale in our parish. It was part of the parish’s commitment to Live Simply. This does not in any way mean living miserably, it means living joyously, putting aside the stresses of consumerism, but enjoying what we do own and living our lives in a way that is in balance with all our fellow humans, the planet and God. Sounds a bit high fallutin’ I know.
My key is to find a simple way to make that happen. The book sale was it. I wanted to celebrate the books I wanted to be rid of, they have served me well, I have enjoyed them and learnt so much from them. In some cases, that I don’t want to read them. In a parish centre full of hundreds of people, it was great fun discussing the memories that the yellow Reklam editions evoke in anyone who grew up in Germany or studies the language. In fact I had some great conversations about Germany, a love of mine. One of my favourite books is Zola’s Germinal and the impact on parishioners who had grown up many years ago in mining villages was clear. One parishioner donated a book by Helen Dunmore, who she had known, the author’s death last year still obviously greatly saddening her.
I was not coordinating the selling of paper, people were donating memories, they were purchasing the promise of an interesting few hours learning something, they were buying gifts of books they felt were needed by others. All in all, people were sharing their lives with each other and the atmosphere was tremendous.
So, my love of being a part of a community was totally fulfilled. We were all there with a shared interest of books, but also as a worshipping community, it was powerful and many commented on how much joy and pleasure there was in the room.
We were in there in solidarity with the poorest people in the world. Every book was being sold for CAFOD’s Lent Appeal, which finishes on 12 May and every pound we raised will be match by the UK Government. We raised £445 in one morning.
We were also in solidarity with friends and family, some of the books had been donated by a Scouting friend from the home of a family member who recently passed away. They were hugely popular books and I was delighted to see the conversations about them and the delight in parishioners who found a new treasure.
Of course, we kept the planet in mind, reusing and recycling the precious resource of paper and ink and appreciating, really appreciating, the value of those seemingly simple resources in our lives.
A great morning, which has fed me spiritually for the week ahead.