The Binder

Two years ago I got rid of one-fourth of my belongings, but there were some things that I couldn’t part with.  Recently I read an article about how getting rid of ‘stuff’ can help the healing process and challenged you to get rid of one-third of your belongings: I’ve started.
     In my purging pursuit, I came across my binder for the comprehensive exams for my master’s degree, and just like two years ago…I couldn’t throw it away, I’d had it for 18 years: it represented too much.
     The Binder: Toward the beginning of the final term, all master’s candidates are given twenty questions to answer that must be comprehensive and include at least two current researchers on the topic. On the day of the exam candidates need bring only personal identification and a head full of knowledge.  They are given six questions and must answer four. 
     A self-designated study group was formed…we’d been taking classes together for two years and knew each other’s strengths.  We threw out two questions, divided up the rest, and set a deadline.  We met late into the night discussing, rewriting, editing…some pontificating over our hundreds of pages of information.  Through the rigorous process several members dropped out.
     My Binder had colored tabs for each question that coordinated with the topics.  I even had a method to my highlighting that caused my colleagues to marvel.  Others were constantly asking to borrow The Binder to replicate my method.  It wasn’t madness…it was a method.
     I reviewed and reviewed The Binder; it was a constant companion.  On my drive up to Drake I propped it on my steering wheel, stealing quick glances on my hour-long drive.  I spent hours recording the answers and listening to them nearly non-stop.  I would fall asleep listening to the recording and when I heard the click of the tape stopping, I would wake up, turn the tape over and listen until it clicked again–all through the night.  On one occasion I surreptitiously listened during a concert.  
     In spite of all that The Binder represented, I threw it out.  I was reflecting on the time, effort and memorization I’d invested and was a little embarrassed that I had put so much into an earthly test:  What would my life be like if I devoured the Bible the way I had The BInder?
When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Jeremiah 15:16

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