Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blue-Eyed Boy

"Blue-Eyed Blue" by Robert Timberg

This is a memoir about a man who served in the Vietnam War and was severly burned on his face and arms as a result of a land mine.  The book tells how he overcame a highly disfiguring injury and did not let that fateful day define him.  He became a Washington news reporter, overcoming the stares from the public.  He searched for meaning beyond that fateful day in Vietnam.  "You can't march a generation, or a portion of a generation, off to war, have its members suffer the pain and anguish that accompanies all wars, then tell them that it was all a big mistake, without sooner or later paying a price."  He is speaking of the Vietnam war and how many gave their lives and limbs and came back to a country that said their sacrifice was a mistake.  I can't imagine how that must feel for our veterans.  Wether we believe in a war or not I believe that our veterans who sacrifice so much for our freedoms should be honored.  "I'm convinced that I did the best that I could, but the best that I could wasn't good enough."  This is a veteran speaking about his time in the war.  He lives with this fact every day, that his best just wasn't good enough.  The book opened my eyes to some of what our veterans feel coming back from war.  I understand how mentally and emotionally they struggle when they have seen the things they've seen in war.  We can not expect them to be whole and functioning with out giving them help, it's just absurd.  "The death of a fellow soldier in combat, especially a friend, is an imprinting experience."  These are the kind of things that change a soldier, for the rest of their lives.  I appreciated how the author overcame his trials and how it brought to light the battle our soldiers face at war and when they come home.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Small Victories

"Small Victories" by Anne Lamott

This is the second book I've read by Anne, while a little unconvential I do appreciate her candor and honesty.  This book is about "spotting improbable moments of grace".  This seems to be a running theme in the last few books that I've read, finding grace in the moments that seem like there is not a bit of it.  Life is hard, and messy, and painful, and full of grace and wonder and joy.  It's how we choose to look at things, and choosing is the hard part.  "I didn't know that wounds and scars were what we find welcoming, because they are like ours."  Wounds and scars are what draw us to others, knowing they have been through hardship and come out the other side is very encouraging.  Why do we try and hide our scars?  "...let's face it, it's so inspiring and such a relief when people find a way to bear the unbearable, when you can organize things so that a small miracle appears to have taken place and that love has once again turned out to be bigger than fear and death and blindness."  "You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace."  None of us can completely protect our children from pain and pain is where growth happens.  "This is how we make important changes-barely, poorly, slowly.  And still.  He raises His fist in triumph."  God rejoices with us when change is made, no matter how slow.  "I know that when I call out, God will be near, and hear, and help eventually.  Of course, it is the 'eventually' that throws one into despair."  Oh the waiting, the hardest part of God's perfect timing.  "Hope is not about proving anything.  It's choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim bleak s*@# anyone can throw at us."  Love is always bigger because God is love.