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Resting the Mind

We have emergency rooms for physical injuries, but where are the emergency rooms for battered souls?


I clicked on the headline because it promised me refuge from mentally looping through the news about North Korea for a 3000th time.  A Jordan Bookseller’s 24-Hour ‘Emergency Room for the Mind’.

The article gave me so much more than that — even from afar; even without visiting the actual space — because it is about a bookstore that is battling the hate the bookseller witnesses around him with positive manuscripts that spread sound ideas.

The bookseller never closes his store.  He sleeps in his shop, and if you need a volume — if you need emergency literature, the right story to reset your mind — you enter and he’ll guide you to the right text.  It’s a safe space for words.  A safe space for ideas.  The bookstore “is a haven, one of the few places on earth where nothing matters more than a love of books.”

I spend a lot of time feeling anxious, beginning in the morning when I scan the headlines, moving into the day when I’m bombarded by news due to my job, and ending at night when I lie in bed and think about all of the things that happened that day.  How tenuous the world feels.  I cannot stop reading the news unless I change my job, and I know tuning out the news doesn’t make the reported events stop.

Maybe the way to battle that anxiety is not by retreating from words but instead find different words.  They don’t undo what you know is outside your door, but at least you’re giving yourself a break on what you invite inside your mind.

I bought a bunch of books recently and checked out others from the library.  Too many to possibly read at the moment, but I’d rather have books overflowing than no new ones to begin.


1 Jill A. { 04.18.17 at 3:40 pm }

I think he sounds like a wonderful man, giving of what he has to whomever needs it. Different words are a good way to turn your mind to different channels, to different emotions.

One of the problems, though, is the “available 24 hours.” It is good of this man to do that, no argument. But our world, our news, goes 24/7. It never, ever ends. That is not good. We need someway to personally turn it off and leave it behind. There are only so many hours in a day. How many should be given to work, to the news, to the hysteria? How do we turn it off for ourselves, on a daily basis. We are very skilled at turning it on, where is the power switch to shut it down?

2 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 04.18.17 at 11:57 pm }

What an amazing idea! I could see you being an emergency bookseller. 🙂

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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