After a long week of tedium, the daily grind, toil and trouble and all that, I occasionally, nay often, inwardly whine about the pace and perplexities of my life. When a really hectic week ends, I look forward to an alarmless Saturday morning, limitless cups of really good coffee and the leisure of reading every page of the newspaper if I want to. I reward myself these things because, hey, I’ve had a crazy week, things didn’t always go my way and I wasn’t treated fairly by everyone I came into contact with.
But then I’ll read a book like Left To Tell and I’ll wince at every remembrance of every gripe I’ve uttered about nitnoid things that really don’t matter.
I’ve had some bad days here and there, but I’ve never really suffered. I’ve never been inches from a killer’s machete or hunted like an animal or separated from my family or been stripped of every freedom, privilege and right accorded to humans created in the image of God. Left To Tell is not an easy book to read, but it’s a story worth hearing. Not only because you will better understand the horrific genocide one Rwandan ethnic group wished to exact upon another – and which the rest of the world seemed to ignore – but also because you will better understand forgiveness isn’t cheap, and it isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible even when everything would suggest it is.
Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Left To Tell: “(Starred Review) In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family, when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis in the country. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days. This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. Her account of the miracles that protected her is simple and vivid. Her Catholic faith shines through, but the book will speak on a deep level to any person of faith. Ilibagiza’s remarkable path to forgiving the perpetrators and releasing her anger is a beacon to others who have suffered injustice. She brings the battlefield between good and evil out of the genocide around her and into her own heart, mind and soul. This book is a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God.”
That’s what floored me about this book. Immaculee’s Corrie-Ten-Boomlike deep desire to forgive what seems unforgiveable. Kind of puts everything into perspective. And reminds me that hope is stronger than despair. It was a tough read, an amazing read, one I won’t soon forget. Check it out.