When I was young I used to get a thrill out of inspecting the book shelves of others. Come to think of it, I still do. It's one of the places you'll find me if I'm in another person's home, scouring their kept titles to uncover their treasures.
On one such adventure, when I was a child, I discovered the book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read, about the Uruguayan Rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes mountain range. Sixteen young men survived by eating the flesh of their dead fellow passengers.
The book moved me, changed me, opened my mind to things I had not yet known to be possible. It is a deeply spiritual book and it impacted me on that level. Even as a young girl I began to look for the hidden meaning in things, the mystical path.
In 1993, a movie was made of the book starring Ethan Hawke and others. I remember it being a good film but it having not quite the same impact as Read's telling of story. Probably because I knew Ethan wasn't really going through it. The book is first-hand and its power is unforgettable.
The other night, I took the book out once more, looking for something to center me in truth, gratitude, spirit.
This is what I found:
"It was something no one could have imagined. I used to go to Mass every Sunday, and Holy Communion had become something automatic. But up there, seeing so many miracles, being so near God, almost touching Him, I learned otherwise. Now I pray to God to give me strength and stop me slipping back to what I used to be. I have learned that life is love, and that love is giving to your neighbour. The soul of a man is the best thing about him. There is nothing better than giving to a fellow human being."
These are the words of Coche Inciarte, one of the survivors, speaking to a priest about what the experience had meant to him.
Imagine being stripped of everything you have, everything you are, forced to consume the flesh of your brothers and sisters, reduced to living in near impossible conditions where seemingly all hope is lost, and there, at the edge of nothingness, you discover the meaning of life.
I went looking for healing and found it in the pages of this book, where the words of a man who stared death in the face reminded me of what it's really all about.
Inspiring Message of the Day: Here is the Simple Truth: Life is Love and Peace comes from Giving.