17 October, 2015

I am David - Book Review

I am David. “That looks interesting,” I thought after reading the back cover. That’s one thing about shopping at an op shop where books cost 20c each – you grab everything that looks interesting, because there isn’t much to lose. I didn’t recognize the cover, but I realized later I’d read up about I am David before, and marked it as ‘to-read’. 

I am David is the story of a boy called David. (I know, surprise!) He grew up in a prison camp, under the guard of them, and he doesn’t know how, or why, he got there. He gleans pieces of information from other prisoners who come and go, but he’s trained himself not to think. His exposure though, means he can speak and understand several languages. One day, David escapes, and begins a trek across countries, following directions given to him. Along the way, he has some narrow escapes, and several adventures. All the time though, he’s worried that they are just behind him, and he works carefully to be as inconspicuous as possible. He also tries to remember everything he can about life in the outside world, wishing he had paid more attention to what the other prisoners talked about. But he manages, and he learns fast. Along the way he also learns who he is, and where he is going. 

David is a deep thinker, and some of his insights are quite profound. He often remembers statements someone called Johannes told him, and he seeks to live by them. For example:

 “But Johannes had said, ‘Politeness is something you owe other people, because when you show a little courtesy, everything becomes easier and better. But first and foremost it’s something you owe yourself. You are David. And if you never allow other people to influence what you’re really like, then you’ve something no one can take from you – not even they. Never mind what others are like – you must still be David. Do you understand what I mean?’” p92

To me, that is a powerful sentence: “If you never allow other people to influence what you’re really like, then you’ve something no one can take from you.” David lives by that rule, and that’s why he can say, I am David.

Because David has grown up in a dull prison camp, he knows nothing else. Things we take for granted, he sees as wonderful, and worth examining and exclaiming over. He’d never heard music before, he’d never seen a bed before. And he couldn’t understand how children didn’t like being clean or going to school, or appreciate the fine meals. 

David’s relationship with his God of the green pastures and still waters is so sweet. Part way along his journey, David decides he needs a God. So he thinks about all the gods he’s heard about, and finally settles on one another David had once mentioned – a God of the green pastures and still waters. David talks to God, and asks for help when he runs into trouble. Then David feels he ought to repay God for all the help He’s given, so he does something for God.  Along the way, David learns more about His God. 

I like the way it’s written too: every paragraph contains so much; there are no fillers. I am David was actually originally translated from Danish. This book was also good, because although it is set during the Second World War, and although David has been in a prison camp, it doesn’t describe much of the cruelty and violence. So it’s suitable for younger readers, or as an introduction to holocaust stories. It’s a quick, easy read, and yet profound; I know I will be reading it again. So, I recommend you try it out!

12 October, 2015

Sing Unto the Lord

“Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.” Isaiah 12:5

When I pause to think about it, God has given me many excellent things to sing about recently:

-We had safety travelling on our recent over-2000km trip. 

-Just when we were to our destination, the car began to overheat. We were able to pull in and park, thankful that it hadn’t happened earlier. We took the car to some mechanics, but they didn’t have the part it needed, so we had to drive it home how it was. In answer to our prayers, it ‘behaved’ and brought us back home with no problems.

-We got to visit friends. On our way, we stayed with my Aunty and her family, and had a good time with her two little boys, one of whom is only a few months old. On our way back we dropped in on some friends, and had a nice time there as well, chatting and seeing their garden and property. 

-We had an enjoyable time at our destination. We went, as we do every so often, to help friends run a health seminar. Despite cleaning toilets, and vacuuming rooms, I had a really good time, and did plenty of other things as well. I’ve come home really inspired, so that’s got to be a good thing.

-While we were away, I got to have quite a few conversations about something I’m looking into, and considering studying. While I’m still not sure about it, it’s given me some direction, and something to think and pray about.

-I also got to have a great conversation about writing with a published author who attended the seminar. She loaned me her latest book to peruse for the duration of the seminar, and answered all my questions about her research and writing process. And she told me about two other books she’s in the process of researching and writing. They both sound really good. So that was exciting. :)

-Most days we were there, I had an appointment, at 4 o’clock to be precise, to go and play violin for ‘Grandma’. She’s 92, and while she had trouble getting her words out, there is still a lot to learn from her. It was a blessing to be able to play for her, and have her say after a song, “Play some more”, and remind me to, “Practice, practice, practice.” I hope it made her days more cheerful too. 

- We did manage to come by an op shop, and to be honest, it was the nicest op shop I’ve ever seen. It was set out and displayed really nicely, and made it feel like a boutique shopping experience, rather than a ratting through someone else’s offcasts. Anyway, I found a copy of The Book That Made Your World there, so I bought it, of course. So far I’ve only read the first few chapters, but it’s been really good, challenging and thought provoking. It’s one of those books that just makes sense. 

-We came back to green paddocks, and over grown lawn, flowers in the garden, and sheepies whose wool had grown dramatically too. The days are warm and sunny, and rather spring-like. And of course, as good as our time away was, it’s always good to be back home. :)

“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Psalm 31:19

 What has God given you to sing about recently?