Thursday, 3 December 2009

Shaming of the Strong

In her comment, Mary asked whether I'd read The Shaming of the Strong. I haven't, but this morning we went to the Cornerstone Coffee Shop (with bookshop - isn't it such a civilised thing to be able to have coffee and at the same browse through books?) and ordered one. Because oddly a couple of days ago, I received a letter SENT 13 MONTHS AGO (I kid you not!) from Alison Davis, coordinator of No Less Human. Looking on their website yesterday, there it was again, Sarah Williams, Shaming of the Strong. So I thought, 'I'm going to buy that.' It's the account by Sarah of being told that the baby she was carrying had a genetic abnormality and would die at birth, and what she and her husband decided to do. I came across this quote from it:

'Everyone hurts. At some stage most people find that life does not deliver what we expect it would or should, and sometimes, worse still, life damages us directly. Although we may use our strength to control what happens to us, often we have little power to prevent difficult things happening. What we do have, however, is the power to choose how we respond. Everyone can choose to turn towards God and to love him in spite of the difficulty and injustice, even in the midst of a situation. . . . All we would have without him is the illusory freedom of our own strength to protect ourselves and our autonomy to isolate ourselves' (Sarah Williams, The Shaming of the Strong, p 171).

I'm reading a book by Henri Nouwen which is new to me, called Our Second Birth. He quotes something Pope John Paul II said in his first speech in the USA: 'Nobody is too poor to give, and nobody is too rich to receive.' I like the NOBODY.


  1. Drat! I had this mountingly irrepressible urge to get this book to you, which I translated into first asking you if you'd read it - and got pipped at the post. Drat. Drat. Serves me right for that lapse of faith.

    It is a meltingly touching story, a family choosing to follow the signs that led them on a pathway of pain, heartbreak and exquisitely tender love.

  2. Sorreee! But thank you for putting me on to it. I'll look forward to reading it. Maybe it's for someone else!