I would drive to the bookstore, a place I used to call second church. I never had to kneel in second church. I think my gaze held such reverence for my environment that it did all the kneeling, hand clasping, and shouting Hallelujah for me. I don’t know if there ever was a casual visit. I walked through the doors, let my fingers trace designs on covers, read synopses that made me want to burn my notebook. I warmed my body by sitting in the café, sipping coffee and enveloping myself in a story so epic it asked me to go home and pray for a tenth of the talent it took to write such beauty.
I know I should have no idols before Him but surely words that emanate from His created beings can make me want to worship Him more.
Second church was more than escape. I was allowing myself to transcend beyond paper and print. I was literally surrounded by palpable courage, men and women who not only told a story but revealed a truth, did not sit idly by, who punched through a wall of gutless fear and laziness, who showed it all, bruised and battered and bloodied, daring people to critique and laugh and cry, who knew one day someone would pass their work and not give it a second look or one look at all, who knew their words could transform and inspire, or one day be hauled off as garbage, sit in a corner of a dusty bedroom or be used as kindling in a fire.
And when I felt like I was being pushed over the edge or pushing myself over the edge, this is where I went. Put myself in the center of it all. Trying to find where I fit, where the me-shaped piece went. One place that held so many questions and answers in its grip at the same time.
My hours were never wasted.
I always left second church restored.