My life these past few weeks has been a long, drawn out marathon of events, adventures, work, and responsibilities. For 26 days straight I didn’t take a day, heck not even half a day, to just do nothing, sleep, or play. It is amazing how even fun things become extremely not fun in the midst of a jam packed schedule. Conferences, training seminars, social events, out of town guests, home renovations, a bodybuilding show, travel, work, and coaching clients filled up all of my days and evenings. Things like grocery shopping were done on the way to somewhere else to either be with someone else or prepare for the next time of being with someone else.
For an introvert, living like this is is torture.
By the time the end of last week rolled around, I was running on fumes and found myself wanting to hide under the covers until a break came.
Unfortunately, when you’re an adult this is not an option. Well, I guess it is an option but one I just never take – responsibility has been woven into my DNA and it oftentimes chomps me in the arse pretty hard.
Needless to say, whenever I started to read I just fell asleep these past few weeks. My book of choice came in the form of a hardback with 472 pages in it if you include the appendices and author’s notes.
Unbroken. A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
Lauren Hillenbrand follows the journey of Louis Zamperini from what it took to become an Olympian at a young age to learning how to skateboard at the age of 81. What came between theses two sports was more than a lifetime of experience, heartache, trial, and resilience.
‘Zamp‘ was drafted into the war as an airman which put him on the path of near death for many, many years. Reading about how he survived a plane crash in the Pacific which meant 46 days floating on a raft and fighting off sharks, starvation, and dehydration, his time being tortured in Japanese POW camps, and the ramifications of the inevitable PTSD that followed was both hard to read and put down.
Throughout the book, I was appalled both by the atrocities he endured and how he chose to keep going – so many would and did give up.
Forgiveness changes everything.
This truth is something I have been working on and through in my own life. We forgive for ourselves, so we can be free to be who we are without hinderance. Forgiveness is the key to opening up the door of freedom in our own lives and the lives of others.
Louis faced his captors at Sugamo Prison, a few years after he was rescued from Naoetsu:
At that moment, something shifted sweetly inside him. It was forgiveness, beautiful and effortless and complete. For Louie Zamperinin, the war was finally over. … Before he realized what he was doing, he was bounding down the aisle. In bewilderment, the men who had abused him watched him come to them, his hands extended, a radiant smile on his face.
He could have decided his life was over and lost the war for his heart, soul, marriage, life, and purpose. He used his own atomic bomb of forgiveness to win his personal war and overcome his hell.
Louis is currently 97 years old and still living a full life.
This is not a book that you can sit down and read cover to cover without a break. It requires some time and space to live through the heartache, sorrow, pain, hope, and redemption; but it is a book worth reading.
I was challenged to look at how I live and what I let live in my own life.
- Am I forgiving myself and others?
- What am I letting control me?
- What is my convient scapegoat?
Louis had ever reason to be stuck in perpetual hell, yet he broke free and has positively impacted the world for many, many people thousands of times over.