We Have an Anchor

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.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

8 responses to “We Have an Anchor

  1. Kathy

    It’s a great thing knowing our Anchor holds in the storms of life…..God is so Good…is my favorite saying these days….in time of shelter he is there with his loving arms to hold me up. Thanks Wendy for sharing this today. We all need a reminder that this to shall pass, the storms that is.

  2. Zooperson

    Amen and well said. When i’m struggling for a toehold, I also say, ” “this too shall pass,” and somehow I weather the storm and, of course, with a bookj in hand.

  3. Good words for troublesome times, Wendy. I hope the storm and its troubles pass quickly. I am hoping to see you this summer–I may have a performance or two in your area 🙂

  4. Susan

    I have just finished your book. I loved it !! Thank you so much for sharing. I feel I must make a trip to visit your store. I live in Hendersonville. I hope you have come to our library books sales that are very well know in this area.
    Maybe you could post a map of second hand book stores you and Jack visited during your trip.
    Thank you again.

  5. jeannstewart

    Thanks, Wendy, for all of your beautiful thoughts!
    Happy New Year to both you and Jack! I have fond memories of meeting both of you in Nashville. Since then, I have remembered that my parents met in Big Stone Gap (and then later I was born in Stonega!) !

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