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This is a quite remarkable and inspirational book. With a title that suggests content reflecting distress, suffering and endurance, it is instead a book contained of journals, diary entries, family photographs, recollections and honest comment on joy, renewal and discovery from the two authors, brother and sister, when cancer came into their lives.
While at times a difficult read, as David Lyons discovers his 12 year old son has an aggressive childhood cancer and sister Linda Lyons Richardson has an incurable ovarian cancer, it is an uplifting testimony also to the triumph of a real faith, of the joy of families, of restoring connections and of enjoying the tender moments while they are there. There is a great honesty, vulnerability and rawness about some of the entries here and it is used effectively.
I found the questions for reflection at the end of chapters particularly interesting. They are the kind of questions that might be asked at a Book Club and a useful way of opening up your reaction to parts of the book to others. This is a book about pain and suffering certainly but it is also a book about joy. It is also a book where you will find satisfying rather than a conventionally happy ending mirroring that ?real life has uncertainties?
One of the final observations made in the book is that our communities contain what one of the authors calls ?a fraternity of suffering people? and we are called to offer words, actions, prayer and collective effort where we can. There are many lessons to learn from this book, but while the main message is that comfort and love can come out of pain and distress, an equally important teaching is that we need to ?be there? when others are suffering ? we are created as humans to be authentic with each other and with our God. Otherwise, we shield ourselves from the love that we so desperately need and that others are willing to share.
This is a spiritual title but deserves a wide readership. The authors struggle with the big questions and find their own answers. I would recommend this book highly as a revealing and intimate account of learning to grow through an encounter with suffering. A fulfilling reading experience.
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