It’s been a hard week here at the bookstore, and that’s a fact. Jack is getting on with the basement renovations, despite crazy weather (from 4 to 62 degrees Farenheit in two days?!) crooked walls, and mucked-up windows. I’m working my way through piles of donations from people who cleaned closets in January, and greeting new customers and new friends the book has brought us. Business is thriving.
But some outside pressures we need not go into have got me rattling just like the basement windows in these bitter winds: confused, pressured, cold and battered. Rattled.
Books are excellent therapy in such times. Walk the shelves, straightening and arranging; set the spines upright; run your fingers over familiar titles and remember when you read them. Breathe in the dust and ideas that float on the sunbeams of a second-hand books shop. Sit at the table and drink a cup of tea, surrounded by the weightiness of all those books holding the collected weight of human learning.
There’s a hymn that says, “We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”
I’m a person who believes in Jesus as He presented Himself, and who turns a suspicious eye toward many of those offering to interpret Him for the rest of us. Perhaps I have two anchors: the eternal one I neither take for granted nor feel compelled to force on others; and the “take time to think” drag force of 38,000 books, just sitting there, reasonable and silent, in a world full of people screaming for attention. Pull one down at random, read a page at random. Just breathe. Drink tea. Relax. Read about–learn from–someone else’s experiences.
Dust, ideas, silence. Peace in a buffer zone. Our bookshop is a space whose walls are lined floor to ceiling by books. Inside them are ideas enough to start a hundred revolutions, yet oddly enough I feel like they shelter me. They remind me that this too shall pass, that there is very little new under the sun, that how I feel now has been felt by hundreds of real people and fictional characters in the past, and will be in the future. It’s okay to be rattled; I’m in good company in these high winds.
We have, here in our little bookstore, an anchor and an Anchor. And that’s enough.