My friend Arthur had some reading materials on his hospital bedside table: a couple of novels, a newspaper, a magazine, and one small, tattered volume with a worn cover and pages that needed to be held together by a rubber band. Arthur's surgery had been a success and he was feeling better than he had in months.
"Do you have enough to keep you busy?" I asked.
"I think so," he gestured toward the bedside table. I held up the slim volume that was falling apart. "Maybe you could afford to get a new copy," I joked.
"I like it just as it is. Take a look."
I slipped the rubber band off and was amazed. Every page had markings on it - underlinings, checks, circled words, comments in the margin. This book hadn't just been read; it had been a constant companion, a source of comfort and inspiration. I read a passage to myself - profound words by a writer who had thought deeply about faith and the human condition.
"I see why you like it," I said.
"I could not have gotten through the last 25 years without it." Arthur replied. Leaving his hospital room, I remembered a quotation I'd seen on a church bulletin board: "Show me a Bible that's falling apart and I'll show you someone who isn't!"