Swapping Books, Creating Possibility


In front of me is a myriad of books. Last year’s best selling novels, the academic brain-children of Yale professors, books on prayer, art, philosophy, gardening and wizards, sit on the tables in neatly colored rows. Soon, Mass will finish and the Saint Thomas More community will trickle out of the chapel, down the ramp and into the courtyard where I and the books wait.

It is time for the Winter Book Swap, an event that invites our community to bring their old / already read books into the courtyard and exchange them for someone else’s. We did it over the summer and got such positive feedback, that we are doing it again today.

I hear the final chords of the postlude. Soon, people make their way down the ramp and cluster around the tables. I love to watch our community members thoughtfully walk around the tables, picking up books and reading their back covers and then putting them down again, until, they make a selection and replace it with the volume they brought from home. How wonderful is that brief flash of tabletop, after a book is picked up and before another is put down! To me, this quick opening of space is a harbinger of new possibilities. An old book has gained a new life in the hands of a new owner while another book gets a chance to be discovered and loved.

And that cycle of new life and discovery can repeat—as many times as we have books.