12 November 2014

Elizabeth Smart

So last week I started reading the Elizabeth Smart story, written by Elizabeth Smart herself.  At the age of 14 she was kidnapped out of her bed in the middle of the night by a man and woman, and kept as a "wife" and "handmaiden" in the mountains of Utah and the desert of California for nine months before she was rescued.  She endured extreme weather conditions, days without food or water, being chained to a tree, threatened, and sexually assaulted over and over again.  I actually started it and finished it in one day (just don't ask me if anything else got done,  pretty sure my kids and husband survived on popcorn and cereal and spent the day rolling around in piles of unfolded laundry).  It was a quick and easy read, word wise, not so much emotion wise.  Emotionally it was draining and terrifying, but also full of hope and healing.  It has now been more than 10 years since her kidnapping, and after her rescue she went on to college, to serve an LDS mission, and has since been married in an LDS temple.  Elizabeth's perspective is so much greater than I think mine would be.  I want to share part of the ending chapter that touched me and that I've thought about numerous times.  

She states:

As of this writing, I am 25 years old.  I have been alive for 307 months.  Nine of those months were pretty terrible.  But 298 of those months have been very good.  I have been happy.  I have been very blessed.  Who knows how many more months I have to live? But even if I died tomorrow, nine out of 307 seems like pretty good odds.

I have had this paragraph rolling around in my head since I read it.  I'd say nine of those months were more than "pretty terrible."  They were full of the most violating, traumatizing, dehumanizing things a person can experience.  And yet, she has the perspective to say nine out of 307 is pretty good odds.  We all have our deserts, our dark times.  Ours might not be as public as Elizabeth's, they might not seem as heavy, but for each individual our dark times can be overwhelming.  As we come out of those dark times, as we move towards healing, what a beautiful blessing it would be to have the perspective that Elizabeth Smart has been able to achieve.  

To be able to say, yeah, that was pretty terrible.  But nine out of 307 ain't bad.


Jocelyn said...

I've been wanting to read this book for a while but I'm too afraid that I will and then I'll be depressed for days. But it sounds like it ends on a high note. Maybe I'll try it out. Is it very graphic?

Nikki (Have Joy) said...

@Jocelyn: I found it more uplifting than depressing. It was not graphic at all, Elizabeth was really careful and did not go into detail about gross things (which I really appreciated). It definitely made me check the locks on my doors a billion times every night, and made me realize that some humans are cruel and selfish at their core, but overall I would describe it as a story of hope and healing.

Have Joy © 2013.

Design by The Blog Boat