Monday, September 13, 2010
Welcome to Heaven... erm... I mean the library
There are... a LOT of libraries in this area. All of the small cities have their own, but then San Antonio has 27 branches scattered throughout San Antonio. Over the course of the 14 months I've lived here, I've been to 3 of the branches and 2 other small city libraries. Only one of them was small - the rest... beautiful. Far nicer than any other library I've been in before. And with staff that is actually kind and helpful.
(Gainesville Public Library, that was a dig at you. Before you, I never dreamed I, I would boycott a library of all things. But you drove me to it.)
I'd heard wonderful things about the Central SAPL location though. It's the "Central" one, the MAIN one, the BEST one. But it wasn't until Saturday that a book that I wanted was there and not my regular library, so I decided I'd finally venture downtown and visit this supposedly wonderful place.
I got downtown easily enough, it's less than 20 minutes from me, but then, as apparently everyone is prone to do I got lost and drove around for about 10 minutes wondering if I'd ever find it among the construction and 1 way streets. (City of SA, please finish sometime within my lifetime.) I passed by the parking garage entrance not realizing it was the garage for the library, but thankfully it was early morning on a Saturday so there was no traffic and only one spectator as I reversed in the middle of the street until I got back to the entrance. I grabbed my parking receipt from the box, noting that I had to "pay" to go to this library in terms of parking $1 for 1 hr, $1.75 for the next (I ended up paying $1.75). Then, my dear friends I walked across the garage, past more construction boards and tarps, and stepped into the building.
And there I stopped.
Let me preface this with the fact that I've always lived in a small town before coming to SA. I've seen big buildings but for me, it's like seeing a big zucchini, - big, pretty, don't care. No friends, this was a big library. I stood there, looking to the far left, the far right, and then craning my neck backwards to see the beauty of the ceiling and the other 4 stories of books above me. Impressed is a word that does not do justice. I was awed.
I ventured to the 3rd floor, where the childrens section was larger than every other library I'd ever been in. I caressed books of braille. Then I ventured to the 2nd floor where they keep only non-fiction reference books. I ventured back to my treasure trove the 1st floor fiction. Sorted by author I finally stopped to count - there were 5 rows of H's. Row upon row upon row upon row upon row (and I could happily and legitimately keep going with the "row upon row") of books. It was more than my mind could grasp. It seemed as though I could find a book, sit down, and read for the rest of my life. And still not finish all the books I wanted.
At the end of my $1.75 parking time I was clutching 7 books and I had not even finished the "B" author section. It physically hurt to leave. And I said to myself - "I don't see how Heaven could be better than this."
Aside from the whole "Jesus" thing of course.
I'm looking forward to seeing Jesus, and while I've read words about how beautiful Heaven is, my mind can't fathom it. Just as others telling me how great that library was did no justice whatever to the grandeur and awestruck feeling I had when I stepped into it's wide entrance unable to take it all in.
So until I meet Jesus, until I get a glimpse of Heaven itself and am carried away by it's superiority to everything conceivable on Earth, Heaven for me will be that library. And I have to imagine that God is in His Heaven laughing at that very idea.
What a day that will be!
Enjoy a glimpse that doesn't even remotely convey it's grandeur.
The outside, pretty though it is, gives no clues as to the wonderment inside its doors.
Even the homeless people READ here. My old library, the homeless people just sit; happy to be indoors. Here, they read. Because you cannot help but sit and read.
I did not want to come down. Truly.