|The Thirsty Soul|
And it is closing next month.
The stores along my small city's main street (which is where The Thirsty Soul is located) rarely fare well. It didn't used to be that way. Most Christian bookstores (70%, I was told) fail even without the abysmal odds of success on our deteriorating main street.
But this isn't just another business beaten down, it is a sanctuary in our city for anyone who seeks it. The elderly come to listen to live gospel music once a week. Addicts come for help and resources (and the owner wanted to expand that outreach). The lonely and hurt come for company, and prayer.
Complete strangers will sit with you and share their stories. Everyone is a part of a spirit that shines through cracks in our broken world like moonlight filtered through treetops, even for non-Christians like me. It is rare to find that light of welcome and compassion, especially in a business.
And the owner is so warm, you can feel how genuine and generous she is just meeting her. She is one of those Christians who actually lives the love and light she believes in.
I'm devastated...and heartbroken... and wishing I knew of a way to prevent the inevitable. We will survive the loss, another store may move in, but nothing will quite fill the emptiness. Sometimes, a business is more than someone's way to make a living. Sometimes, it's a piece of a community's soul.