Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a long way gone

I love to read, loved it since I was a little girl. Other kids would want to watch tv or a movie, I'd want to read. Other teenagers got in trouble staying up late at night talking to their friends on the phone; I got in trouble for reading until 3am when I had school the next day.

But at this moment in time, I'm finding it very hard to read. A few friends recommended a book to me, one they used with their youth. So several days ago I picked the book up and began to read. I've only gotten to page 50. This is very unusual for me (I read the whole last Harry Potter book in something like 7 hours). But this book... this book is making it very difficult for me to read.

The book is "a long way gone: memories of a boy soldier" by Ishmael Beah, a young man my age who grow up in Sierra Leone. When he was just 13, he was conscripted into the rebel army and forced to do horrible, horrible things. As an older teenager, he was rescued and brought to the United States where he lives and works now.

His writing is beautiful, and haunting, and very, very painful. I'm reading along and I feel physical pain in my stomach. What this young man has experienced, has had to see, had to do... it shouldn't even be humanly possible. After each chapter, and sometimes after just a passage, I have to put the book down and pray. Pray for the people in this world who remember, who survived. Pray for the people in this world who are living through such atrocities right now. Pray for the people in this world who are inflicting such violence on their sisters and brothers.

I'm have a really hard time reading. But I keep trying. I need to get through this book - can't put my head under the covers or pick up a happier novel. Even if I really, really want to.


Iris said...

That certainly isn't a read for pleasure book, but serious work! Were I reading it right now, I would be tempted to set it aside and try not to think about what I had just read. But, that's the thing about awareness, you can't ever go back into blissful ignorance, can you? Blessings to you as you seek what the Spirit is wanting to teach you through this man's story.

Pastor Peters said...

I challenge myself in the same way with what I read. But, it's kinda a nice escape.

It makes me remember that there is another world out there and still so many connections to make -- if I'm brave enough to make them.

Like if I went to DC to hang out with a bunch of young women...