It is said to never judge a book by it's cover. I agree with this.
The cover of this book, however has a strange fix on me. As I read it, I found myself placing my hands irresistibly on the red hand glowing from the front glossy. It connects me to my son, who had this book in his car that day we shopped for a toaster and of Sasha, my friend in Ukraine, who drew the outline of his hand of top of one his letters sent to me years ago. One hand from a friend far away and one hand from my eldest, broken that August day so well remembered.
Inside the book was all the memories and textures of singular moments that catch inside us. I read along, curious and yet not wanting to hear about the loss again. We all have so much to lose. There is not a lot of belief in these characters. They are shaped by frozen love. But this is their education, they way they learn through unimaginable circumstances.
As the young and old like navigate through the pain of being "alive and alone", they must find a way to move forward even when it's too hard to live. And yet live they will. There is way more power to their coming and going then they can believe. Way more faith then they themselves can admit to. So I found myself confronted with my own areas of unbelief and fear. I would stop and pray or stop and read over and over a phrase that I didn't want to forget, yet knew I would.
Most of us keep some kind of journal in order to remember. One character fills his house, his suitcase, his life with words he refuses to speak. He sees that all of them will mean nothing and that only his name will remain. It fills him with such dread. Yet he cannot allow his words to go to God because of his insurmountable loss.
I go to read the scriptures once more and the loss there is flung out to God. God, who watches disaster and new born babies. Voices of these scriptures cry out to God against the void. What incredible men. And yet, this is what comes to us- a hope and grace undeserved, like a net we could never invent on our own.
Maybe Stephen Hawking could really see that if he were a poet, he could give us something to live on. I would agree with him.