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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Words of Comfort
Date Posted: September 2, 2006

I love the scent of my small town's public library: a combination of old books and secrets, floor polish and copies. Not the old musty, makes-you-want-to-sneeze-and-get-out-of-there-fast smell of the big university library where I spent many hours as an undergraduate. This scent evokes the feeling of opening the door to a home-cooked meal or visiting a friend's house. It welcomes me, enfolding me in a world of knowledge and fantasy, beckoning me to come and explore, to learn about far-away places and possibilities.

From the time I was in grade school I loved to visit the library, usually riding my bike the few blocks that spanned the distance from my house. I would sit and read then lug home a stack of books in the little basket on the front of my bike. When I got too old for a basket I would just tuck them under my arm and ride with one hand. (This was years before backpacks were cool, or anyone I knew even owned one.)

I got my first library card in second grade (that was and still is the rule) and read voraciously from then on. Sometimes I went with my mom to the library, other times with friends. But my favorite times were when I went alone and could take my time to peruse each title, thumb through the card catalog and examine the choices on the "new selection" shelf. By the way, I had my original paper library card until after I got married and had to get a new one because of my change of address. My number was 6605. I rarely took the card, just told the librarians my number and they wrote it in. They all knew me anyway. Now the system is computerized and the plastic cards have a bar code like everything else. If you don't bring the card you don't get books! (Most of the librarians still know me, though - hazard of a small town!)

Books have always been a huge part of my life and I've always loved my local library as their source. I love to buy books as well and trade them with friends, but there's nothing like finding a great new author or an undiscovered title by a favorite author, borrowing it for free and having two weeks to indulge your imagination.

Although I find familiar comfort in books of many types, in the last few years I have drawn a different kind of comfort from reading Christian writers of both fiction and inspirational genres. I also have become more comfortable with the ultimate words of wisdom - the Bible. I read it in Sunday school classes and at camp while growing up and memorized many verses, but little of it was embedded in my heart until the last several years.

The more comfortable I become with God's Word the more I realize how everything else comes back to God. Even in all my other readings I see the influence and the evidence of God. Authors are either trying to glorify Him, find Him, understand Him, undermine Him or flat-out deny Him - yet His words are unchanging and indisputable!

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts . . ." -- Psalm 119:103-104

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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