Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fine Free (Good) Friday

Mindful that it was Good Friday, I found myself fielding Reid's daily after-school negotiation for a thrift store visit. 

"Hey! isn't today the last Friday of the month?" talking to myself outloud.  
Then to Reid, "Yes it is!  You know what that means?  I get my privileges back! Let's go there..."  
Astounded he repeated, "You got your privileges back?! No way!"  (It's been awhile.)

Win, win! Library bookstores have the best thrift of all.  The only thrift worth thrifting: Disney Masterpiece VHS tapes.

And so....with that, comes this edited repost from 5 years ago. Since then they've re-named our library "Happy Hour" Fine Free Friday which is in keeping with family values.  Another reason we love libraries: they epitomize the meaning of Easter.  We can claim our privileges--of returning to the garden to commune with God--because of the ultimate Fine Free Friday!  

Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter!

Does your public library have a Happy Hour? Countywide, on the last Friday of every month, ours does. Alcohol is not served; everyone's just very happy to return late materials with no fines whatsoever, no questions asked, no due dates checked, no snickering.

Thirsty one day, and not at my usual branch, I noticed the sign on their counter. Not to be believed! Could this be? I inquired. Yes, indeed, they would rather have their books back--no matter how late--than leave them missing in action. They waive all fees, even their potential profits from replacement fees. I had incurred upwards of $50 a month before this happy time. This was very good news for me!

My husband jokes that I have lost library privileges in every state in the union, which is not quite true. We haven't moved that much!
What is true, is that I am frequent library user, a horrible procrastinator and an avoider of conflict. So, when I have books that are more than a couple days late, I go into avoidance mode feeling I can't show my face at the local branch. I bury my head shamefully in the sand while the fines steadily increase, like a taxi meter headed for the airport, finally exceeding replacement value. Of course, loving books as I do, I eventually own up and pay the exorbitant fines, considering it a good deal compared to the equivalent cost of much shipping and handling at Amazon. The library is certainly a good cause.

Until I learned about Happy Hour! Now, I mark my calendar for the last Friday of every month, anticipating another new grace period, while I search under mattresses and behind furniture for the rogue book or tape. The library has long been my favorite institution, all the moreso now! Between my over-consumption of books and Reid's penchant for stickers and de-constructivism, we have tried the patience of many a librarian. (See original post for details.)

When I carry a double digit debt at the library, my heart is heavy. I feel banned from my favorite place to browse and choose books. Trapped at home, unable to find my Get Out of Jail Free card (the missing book) I enter a stubborn refusal to pay for something I only intended to borrow. Grounded from a favorite activity, then a paralyzing guilt of neglect and tardiness set in. Chastising myself is depressing and being angry at Reid for his part in it, is not productive. Now, not to over spiritualize but, isn't sin just like that?

Happy Hour sets me free! Last time, I was visibly uplifted, walking out to the car with a fresh stack of free books! The parallel hit me with the salt air; Jesus forgives and forgets our iniquity. He gives us privileges back; the right to pray to Him and be heard without obstruction; the carefree feeling of innocence and childlike faith return; the squeaky clean shine of having unrighteousness removed as far as the east is from the west. The only difference is that His happy hour can be daily or hourly, as needed.

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-8

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
"Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:11-13

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