What draws you to what you read?  I found myself pondering this with my nose stuck in Alexander McCall Smith’s latest 44 Scotland Street novel.  The books are quiet, winding stories around 10-12 characters who all live in Edinborough, Scotland.  They offer escape by allowing the reader to lose him or herself in the small-scale dramas of a “stolen” teacup or lying little girls in the schoolyard.  Problems and complications abound, but so do growth, restoration, and eventually solutions.

The book creates a calm and warm space, allowing a respite from the many true evils and tragedies in our world.  This is increasingly necessary due to the barrage of information our world daily places in front of us.  Even social media, which once revolved around sharing photos and connecting with friends, has become a highly efficient way to spread information about causes, issues, and seemingly unsolvable problems.  I would guess that for many, this barrage leads to anxiety and sadness over an overwhelmingly complicated world.

At times when anxious and depressive thoughts begin to well up beyond what is manageable, it is helpful to remember that the world is always full of pain and anger and you can choose how to engage.  Taking a time-out from the things that breed those thoughts does not mean that you don’t care or won’t do something in the future.  Be free to shut down facebook/twitter/Pinterest, etc. for a day or two and do something renewing.  Read a book with a happy plot, journal, go for a walk in nature, play with a pet, watch a funny movie.  Find what gives you encouragement and strength in order to re-engage with the realities of a broken world.

For me, engaging in a story that I know will eventually lead to (most) all being right with the world helps me build a space for quiet and renewal–what will your space look like?