One of the benefits of driving several states away to visit Mossy every month, is that I’m now listening to so many amazing audio books. This month, I didn’t plan ahead very well, so I found myself standing in front of an overwhelming number of audio books at the local library just minutes before I needed to head out of town. Usually, I pick out a few good books and have them on reserve, so all I have to do is go pick them up – it’s better than a drive through fast food restaurant!
An adorable picture of a small monkey on a disabled man’s shoulder caught my eye, “Kasey to the Rescue.” Maybe my obsession with having a pet monkey as a young girl influenced my choice, but the subject seemed interesting. A young man, practically decapitated in a car wreck was finding assistance with a therapy monkey from Helping Hands Monkey Helpers. I’ve also really been enjoying memoirs, biographies or autobiographies right now. I just love stories of ordinary people who find themselves facing the extraordinary situations life often brings. Perhaps it’s the thread of hope often woven through these stories of challenge, defeat, and obstacle that is the soul medicine I need these days.
I was prepared for a touching story of a monkey helping a young man. I wasn’t prepared to hear the story from the mother’s perspective… to have my heart strings tugged and stretched in every chapter. I don’t think there was a chapter that didn’t move me to tears, or at least a burning nose and a tight chest. I won’t ruin the book by sharing too many details. I will just say that it is a worthwhile read. It’s a book that will:
remind you of the important things,
pull your loved ones a bit closer,
break your heart at times,
blossom gratitude deep inside,
and… inspire you to never give up hope.
How often does defeat create an environment for bitterness to grow? In my own life, I have often been tempted to have a pity party when things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped… and for good reason! It’s not like I’m just sad that I didn’t get that new dress or some exotic vacation like a friend. I’ve faced some serious loss… but I’m not the only one.
Toward the end of the book, mother and son reflect on how their lives are so drastically different from what they thought would be:
Ellen: Bottom line, nobody has it all. There’s always a trade-off. You make choices. You take one path or you take the other. And sometimes you don’t even get to decide where you go, but you do get to decide who you are.
Ned: The trick is to be who you are when circumstances yank you off track.
Ellen: Exactly, and that’s true for everybody.
Beautiful. Thank you, Ned, for not giving up. Thank you for fighting for every tiny bit of progress that was possible. And thank you for sharing your story, so that I could be inspired and encouraged.