What are some of the things you have in your life, big or small, that could be swept away in a single moment?
Your entire comfort of living.
I recently read a book called Between Shades of Gray. It’s a story about 1940s Lithuania during the time of Russian occupation. This is a book I’ve been interested in reading for a long time, but for some reason neither of the two bookstores near me had it in stock. What a nice surprise it was to stumble across it one day. Even though I was already carrying five books, I knew I wasn’t going to put this one down.
During this time in Lithuanian history thousands of families were deported, some were separated and many died. Their destination; Siberia.
This book tells the story few are aware of, including myself, and I applaud the author. I’m not going to discuss the plot because that’s not the point of this post and I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone who may wish to read it.
Oh, and I do recommend this book.
The story is told through the eyes of Lina, a 15-year-old girl who dreams of being an artist. Despite the fact that she is ripped from her home in the middle of the night and taken away with her mother and younger brother, she never stopped drawing.
The characters in this book are fictional, but the events actually happened and they happened to real people. They were taken away from everything familiar, scared and confused. No one knew where they were going and no one was willing to tell them.
It isn’t until Lina is sleeping on the cold hard floor, thinking about her warm bed and goose-down comforter, that it really hit me. Who would have thought that sleeping in a warm bed could be considered a luxury?
As I read on, I think more about all the things I have in my life. I have a warm bed to sleep in every night. I have food when I’m hungry and warm clothes for winter. I have my family and my health. All these are things that Lina and thousands of others lost in an instant.
That’s one of the lessons I learned in reading this book, we take the things in our life for granted.
It’s so easy to do that it happens on a daily basis without us really noticing.
Despite the tragedy and the ugliness, there was also beauty in this story. In order to survive, people helped one another and stuck together. On Christmas they continued their traditions and when Lina’s birthday came she was not forgotten. Not only was there togetherness and family, but also hope and love. There was love for family, friends and strangers while hope seemed to help some survive.
Again, I don’t want to say too much and leave spoilers, even though I have just scraped the surface of this amazing story. I will say that this is a truly beautiful and touching book. I’ll admit, I cried several times while reading.
The things we have in our lives aren’t guaranteed. Life itself isn’t guaranteed. I don’t know about you, but I know I take some of the things I have for granted. We should appreciate the things we have, love the ones close to us and live every day like it could be our last. You never know what’s going to happen. Tomorrow it could all be gone.