I set a pretty intangible goal for myself in this new year with the whole “pray for hard things to change me” business.
And, while it’s one of the better resolutions I’ve ever set for myself, I also made a tangible one (I love a good SMART goal as much as the next, people).
Read (at least) one book a month.
So far? So good.
I know, I know. I can’t believe I hadn’t already read it either.
This particular novel is historical fiction, and, in its briefest terms, follows two sisters as they struggle to survive the German occupation of France throughout WWII.
It only took two chapters for me to realize I was going to read the entire thing with bated breath.
You likely know by now that I am a naturally angsty (my second favorite adjective) person. I don’t disconnect wires very well. When I think about something, I also think about how it connects to everything else I am also thinking about.
Anyway, I was telling Jake about the book a few nights ago, and as I tried to convey just how anxious I was about where the story was going, he responded as anyone would expect him to:
“You know it isn’t real, right?”
And I’ve been thinking about that question a lot since.
Of course I know that it isn’t real. The characters were fictional. It was a novel, after all.
But a good novel, I think, blurs that line between fiction and reality. And, you can’t reinvent the human condition. Love and sacrifice and fear? They are real even if a story is not.
I’ve been thinking a lot about love and sacrifice and fear lately. Wondering what exactly my responsibility is in the numerous small-scale and global problems I see or hear about on a daily basis. Feeling vastly insignificant in my desire and ability to incite change. I’m only one person after all.
But my wires crossed while I was reading The Nightingale yesterday.
In the end, fifty years after the end of the war, one of the characters (no spoilers!) remarks:
It strikes me suddenly: These are the families of the men who were saved. Every man saved came home to create a family: more people who owed their lives to a girl and her father and their friends.¹
I think the ripple effect is real, and I honestly hope that someday I get to look back on my life and see how far-reaching each moment was. To especially see the things that felt insignificant at the time and the lasting impact they had for the Kingdom.
To see how love and sacrifice and fear worked together to make a difference.
A large-scale impact can start small after all.
And that’s a reality I hope never to blur.
Now, here’s something fun: I’d like to give away my copy of The Nightingale. What good is the literary experience if you don’t share it with others?
Also, I’d like this book to wreck somebody else’s life for a few days like it did mine (you’re welcome and I’m sorry in advance).
If you’d like my copy, there are two ways you can let me know:
- You can comment on this post.
- You can comment on or reply to whatever social media outlet led you to this post.
Whatever route you choose, either type in a few hand-raising emojis OR tell me a good, non-stressful book to read next. Goodness knows my blood pressure can’t take another one like this for awhile.
I’ll put all your names in a hat and make Jake draw one out Friday!
¹ I altered this quote slightly so as not to spoil one of the plot lines.