A Bible Story—Jen Kominsky's Keepsake

As I've roamed around the South asking people to talk about their keepsakes, several people have told me about Bibles. In Warner Robins, Jim Gilreath showed me an heirloom Bible passed to him from his great-grandfather, Jonathan Jeremiah Gilreath. It looked like something that should be viewed under glass at the National Archives. In Calhoun, Missionary Janie Aker showed me her Bible and told me the story of her Aunt Mattie Bell and how the Bible changed Janie's life trajectory.  I, too, have a Bible keepsake. 

 Jen Kominsky writes about her keepsake—a Bible given to her by her grandmother. 

Jen Kominsky writes about her keepsake—a Bible given to her by her grandmother. 

On Christmas of 1976, my parents gave my siblings and me leather-bound Bibles with our names stamped in gold lettering on the covers. During my youth, I carried my Bible to Bonaire First United Methodist Church each and every Sunday and read along with Reverend Tom Ivey as he read the scripture of the day to our small congregation. I loved that little white church and everyone in the congregation. 

Today, there are small keepsakes tucked inside my little, worn Bible. In Ezekiel 39, two gift tags from Moore's Department Store are wedged between the thin pages. These tags adorned wedding gifts from my Grandmother Jarriel and my Great-Aunt Nadine. Each tag displays their shaky, loving handwriting.

At Numbers 15, I keep a crisp fifty dollar bill—a wedding gift from my Uncle Edwin and Aunt Monteen. I don't know why I put the money in my Bible instead of spending it, but it has been in that position since 1990 and I guess it will stay there.

So when I received Jen Kominsky's story about her Bible, I was curious where her Bible came from and what memories it contained from her past. She attached a photo of her Bible turned to Psalm 23, a psalm of David. I've always been attracted to that Psalm, with its strong, powerful imagery—valley of the shadow of death, a cup running over, etc.

I love Jen's story, and I think you will, too. It's titled, "The Key to my Past." Her story won honorable mention in November's keepsake story contest. Enjoy!

My Oma passed away earlier this year. I inherited her Bible. The Bible is thirty years old. It has become my most prized keepsake, and I hold it near and dear to my heart.

I actually took possession of the Bible while I was saying goodbye to her. She had been sick, and fortunately, I was able to share a few days with her before she died. The morning my mom called me to tell that Oma had passed, I immediately opened the Bible. I found comfort in running my fingers over the glossy pages. I read the notes scribbled in the margins written in her and my grandfather’s handwriting.

I skimmed through to the bookmarks they had placed. I read their favorite verses.

The Bible carries the scent of their house. Opening that Bible opens the door to my past. I am transported right back to my grandparents’ living room. I can remember the Bible was always on their coffee table. I felt love and warmth sitting in that room.

I can hear my grandparents’ laughter and see their grinning faces. I can feel their arms wrapped around me in a loving embrace. I can see sleepovers in the summer with the house filled with my cousins. I can taste the melt-in-your-mouth cookies we always shared over a cup of hot tea. I can remember rolling down the big hill in their front yard. I can remember always feeling completely safe in my grandparents’ home.

I smile through the tears because while holding that special book in my lap, I feel connected to them. Anytime I need to feel close to them I turn to that Bible. It helps me feel grounded. Who knew that one book would mean so much to me. I will always cherish that Bible.
— Jen Kominsky, 2014
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Jen is a busy wife and mom who writes and blogs from Virginia. She's passionate about fitness and healthy living. And of course, she is the keeper of her Oma's Bible—a priceless keepsake containing rich, beautiful memories. Check out Jen's blog, JVKom Chronicles, at www.JVKom.com.

Thank you, Jen, for sharing your story with Project Keepsake.

Do you have a keepsake? I know you do. Don't delay, share your story with your family, friends, and others. Keep storytelling alive.

To read more short keepsake stories, consider purchasing a signed copy of Project Keepsake, a collection of fifty-five stories examining why we keep the objects we keep. Click the link on the right. It's on sale with no shipping charges.