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William Stringfellow was a Christian lawyer and lay theologian who had a disease that gave him debilitating pain. He refused to take pain killers because they dulled his mind, but he did look for things to distract himself from the pain. TV was useless and music didn’t help, but reading provided some comfort. This is what he writes:

Reading proved more effective in providing diverting intervals from the pain. My span of concentration became too brief to read a book, though more than adequate for the Providence Journal. The New York Times, on Sunday, was just too formidable. The two things to which I most often turned to read, for my purpose, were the Psalter and the Sears, Roebuck and Company catalog. I had not previously had occasion to do more than scan either, though I had frequently been in circumstances where each would be cited as authority. Now 1 found comfort in both. They are remarkably similar volumes. With their marvelous diversity, a man with a little diligence can shop through their pages virtually certain of locating something to suit a desire or need or other disposition of the moment.

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