I haven't been reading much the last 6 months. Haven't had the attention span required for a novel.
But this week, it was time. Time to loose myself in another's perspective for a while.
I skimmed my color coded bookcase for the right thing. Something new? No. Maybe something very familiar. I touched and considered some of my favorites. In the whites: Enchanted April, The Glass castle, Tale of Two Cities, The Gurnsery Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. No... The Blues: Peace Like a River, Anne Of Green Gables, The Joy Luck Club, all of Austin. The greens: Anna Karenina, Little Women, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter. The Yellows: The Secret Life of Bees, Dandelion Wine, Shakespeare, My Antonia, The Poisonwood Bible, Watership Down. Reds: Life of Pi, Huck Finn, Three Cups of Tea, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Hmmm. All lovely. But not quite....for what could be my last read... And then, my eyes froze in the browns. The Hiding Place. I read it as a teenager. It changed my life. I found it at our thrift store last year, and forgot about it. A beat up old paperback.
I think I stopped there because I keep telling myself "Well, it could be worse." I tell myself this often and have wondered why in the world that should give me any comfort. Surely the fact that the situation could be a lot more complicated or serious does not make me feel any better? Certainly the fact that others have suffered FAR beyond anything I have does not give me a sense of peace? Why then, do I get some comfort in knowing that indeed it could be worse (you don't have to have a great imagination here as everything but the cancer is so wonderful right now, there are many possibilities)?
The Hiding Place is a memoir of a family in the midst of the Holocaust. As dark of a situation as it gets.
Two sisters (Corrie and Betsie Ten Boom) from Holland are sent to a German extermination camp. They would suffer unimaginable treatment. And yet their Christian faith lets them live beyond the suffering. It helps them find joy, and most importantly, their faith helps others. It is truly inspiring.
The last words of Betsie, dying in the most inhumane conditions (where nintey-six thousand woman would die), were, "We must go everywhere. We must tell people that no pit is so deep that He is not deeper still. They will believe us, because we were here."
And so, this was the perfect selection for me. I needed to be reminded that even in the worst case scenarios people walk out, heal, move on. God will give us the strength to carry on.
This week was hard on the country as we learned about the Colorado shooting. I read this viral blog post by one of the survivors. I thought it was well said.
If I try to make sense in all this chaos, I get confused. Even the faithful Ten Boom sisters had their moments of despair and doubt. I try to remember that I don't need to figure it out, I just need to trust that God is good enough to triumph over all the tragedies that happen to us.
I needed that message.