Transient headlines vs the enduring classic

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Although on a rainy Saturday I yearned to curl up with a cup of cocoa, I lacked one important ingredient for such a luxurious afternoon. I didn’t have a good book.

So, I ventured out into the chilly fall weather, the windshield wipers fighting the stubborn drizzle, the gray clouds settling in over the city.

I was off to the library, a beloved destination. My husband is a used bookstore patron. When he returns with his stack of books and his credit card receipt, I sometimes say, with a touch of wifely sarcasm, “Did you know there’s a place where they give you a little plastic card, and then they let you take books for free?”

But on this dreary Saturday afternoon, the library disappoints. I’ve brought a list of the Man Booker Prize finalists — the great English literary award — and can’t find any of them. I search futilely for other recommendations and add my name to waiting lists.

I’m already far down a waiting list for Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” his meticulously researched look at the Trump White House.

Then, perusing the shelves, I see a copy of “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s widely discussed book about the administration. Remember “Fire and Fury”? Purported to be an insider’s look, the author claimed wide White House access. It made headlines for a week or two before the media was off to the next big thing.

Have you noticed how incredibly fast the nation’s full attention moves from one thing to the next these days? It reminds me of the fall leaves that all scurry across the street in one direction as the wind blows, like a group of lemmings hurrying to the cliff.

Today, the once hot-selling “Fire and Fury” languishes, dusty on a library shelf. No waiting list to check that out.

And remember Omarosa, the former “Apprentice” star and White House employee who wrote her own tell-all? Remember that anonymous New York Times column?

Recall the thousands of children placed in holding pens when they were separated from their parents at the border? How quickly our attention faded, even though many of them have never been reunited with their folks.

I could go on and on, week by week. It’s one drama after another, as if our attention chases mental ambulances daily.

When I arrive home, with a disappointing (but free!) collection of books, my eye is caught by something lying on a kitchen chair. It’s my Bible, left there this morning. I feel a tug on my heart.

There, dog-eared and ragged, lies permanence and truth, wisdom for the ages, solace for the journey, strength for the struggle. It’s the perfect book, a best seller for millennia. There’s an enduring story that stands the test of time — eternal, yet always new and personal.

Keeping up with current events is important. Immigration struggles will touch lives for generations. Supreme Court justices will affect our democracy and all of us for years to come. The dispute with Korea remains fraught with danger. We should pay attention.

But Scripture invites us to probe the unchanging, the beloved, the one who forgives and holds fast. It invites us to a relationship with him who calms the waters.

Starting the day with Scripture invites us to prioritize, to see where God walks in our lives. It discourages the vitriol, it banishes hysterical websites, silences depressing, hateful comment sections and stills breathless gossip.

There are classic books at the library. But there is so much that doesn’t stand the test of time. Jesus stands the test of time. Stick with him.

The writer is formerly from Anchorage. She now lives in Omaha, Neb.


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