This year I have a goal…to spend more time reading. With life ever busy it is easy to cut out the time spent curled up in your favourite chair reading. I wondered why? There certainly are a number of reasons one may choose to occupy their limited time with other activities but for me it is often a matter of timing….by the time my day is done, I am tired and my eyes don’t focus as well. New glasses will hopefully fix this problem so I can go back to my love of a good book. When I read, I learn…when I learn I am a better more rounded person. Seems like a no brainer.
This week I started toward that goal with a new biography, A Chance in the World by Steven Pemberton. I love reading about people’s lives & circumstances. After scanning the back I promptly started to read the first page. From that moment I was enthralled and horrified at this young orphan boy and his life.
Taken from an unsafe home at age three, Steven continues to live a terrifying existence. He was placed with a foster family that can only be described as monsters and there his life & memories began. As he grew, he wondered about his ‘real’ family, determined to unravel the mystery of his birth. The answers would not come until years later. Hiding also became a prominent part of Steven’s existence, some of that time hiding was spent in a cold dank basement, reading books given to him by a kind neighbour(imagine not being allowed to read upstairs) ….it was there he learned about hope, about different ways of living and a love for learning. It was there he found his escape. Throughout the years Steven tells of small kindnesses from strangers, the help of a few teachers and social workers and the incredible grace of God that made him a man of resilience and determination.
As evening turned to early morning, I knew I just had to finish this story…about 2 am I laid the book down but still could not sleep. I was overwhelmed by the idea that such small slivers of kindness or caring could so drastically have impact on this young man’s life. A woman gives him a box of books after seeing him under a tree reading. The impact of those books carries through his whole life. A nurse comforts him after a horrific ‘accident’. The kindness in those words stays with him into adulthood. These are only 2 small instances, yet they were instrumental in changing a boy’s life. If that is the case, imagine what you (& I) have the ability to accomplish without even knowing it!!
A Chance in the World~ Steven Pemberton