You can imagine my shock when, part way into an enthralling book that Vic toted home in his pile from the library, I was told it came "highly recommended" by said yahoo. Well darn, no amount of loathing could persuade me to put it down. It's called The Survivors Club. And it's brilliant. Thanks, Glenny boy.
The book starts off by introducing its readers to the three rules of survival: 1) Everyone is a Survivor. 2) It's NOT all relative 3) You're Stronger Than You Know
Poignantly depicting these rules are stories of people heroically surviving insane tragedies. I'm talking falling 30,000 ft. out of an airplane onto a glacier, being stabbed by a wooden knitting needle through the sternum and into the heart (and then discovering acute stages of breast cancer during the surgery to remove the needle), to being attacked by a mountain lion. I would have never believed one could survive such tragedies. And then I think...look at me. I'm surviving a horrific tragedy. Though mine is not so outwardly physical as theirs, it is downright daunting and life-altering just the same.
A few interesting things have happened since Lucy died and people started reading our blog. One being that I receive emails from other survivors telling me of failing marriages, chronic illness, miscarriages, and of course death. Sometimes people approach me at church or around town and open up to me about their personal stories of survival. Almost always, however, they will say something along the lines of, "But it's nothing compared to what you're going through. I'm sorry to complain, etc." I want to say (and sometimes have), "But what you are going through IS important. It IS a big deal and I'm so sorry." Yes, sometimes illnesses go away, marriages are repaired, and other miracles wrought. But in the survival game of life, rule number 2 is in play. It's not all relative. To quote the from the book:
" When it comes to adversity, it's human nature to make comparisons. Which is worse? Getting trapped in the freezing Andes or accidentally killing your child? These questions are inevitable but lead nowhere. While some challenges appear to be more daunting or excruciating than others, if you're going through your own ordeal, it doesn't make any difference where it ranks on some imaginary Richter scale of survival.....Sure, adversity comes in many sizes and shapes, but if it's happening in YOUR life--if it's got your undivided attention--if that stakes matter to YOU--then contrasts are irrelevant. The Big One is happening to you, right here and right now. Relativity doesn't matter. No matter the crisis--on a glacier or in a driveway--the second rule of the Survivors Club means that your challenge is just as big a deal as anyone else's."
Suffering is not solitary. It is unanimous. We will all face it someday, somehow, in some form. It is unfair and unbalanced. But it is ours to shape. Losing Lucy has opened my eyes to an entire world of varied suffering and survival. At times it can consume me and I have to turn off the news, close the blogs, and walk away and breathe. I don't want it to paralyze me, I want it to connect me...to all of you.
We are all survivors. You may be living next door to a superhero and not know it. The woman checking out your groceries or the librarian or even the drug addict--what incredible stories of survival live in each of them? We are stronger than we know. God's love and power are stronger than we know.
The Survivor's Club, by Ben Sherwood. Go read it. And turn off Glen Beck, he'll give you a headache.
Some of my closest and favorite survivors:
All of us in this photo have lost children. 7 of us have have given birth, or are about to, since this photo last winter. Incredible women. If you know anyone who has lost a child who would like to join our online community please send me an email.
P.S. My half marathon training is going really well. I'm officially addicted and obsessed with running. The big day is August 8th--Provo River. We had a great 4th and are enjoying our busy summer. Hiking, biking, swimming, bbqs, endless visits from friends and loved ones, incredible weather-- and our darling Peter takes the cake.