When I was little, I would trail my mom to the fabric store nearly every month. It was middling in my list of errands: no toys, but the pattern books did provide some pre-Pinterest craft browsing. My mom would finger washable silk or ultra-suede, and I’d flip pages, trying to be patient.
Once she decided, we’d go up to the counter lugging the bolt. The clerk would lay the fabric on the wide table, and ask how much my mom wanted.
Yardage agreed upon, she’d unwind the cloth until she had the desired amount. Then she’d take her scissors and snip just the tiniest cut on the edge.
I’d hold my breath. This was my favorite part.
She’d grasp both sides of the cut and pull. Hard.
Sccchnniiiiick, the fabric would sigh, neatly ripping down its grain.
I loved the sound. And even more, I loved the boldness of it. The confidence of taking something beautiful, whole, pristine, and tearing it apart without hesitation.
The clerk would set the bolt aside and fold the purchase into a neat rectangle, ready to be made into whatever my mom’s heart desired.
Looking back, I was impressed by this. There was no making something new without tearing the old thing. Creation started with controlled destruction, every time.
I have been wrecking an old copy of my Bible.
I carved a hidey-hole in 2 Chronicles. I made a baby picture of myself pop up from a page. I ripped a few passages from Judges out, tore them into strips, braided them, and pasted them back in. I added a new cover, created a prayer labyrinth in Nehemiah with Elmer’s Glue, and cut holes in Psalm 119.
I feel nervous telling you this.
It’s the BIBLE. Am I allowed to tear it to shreds?