Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I just finished a book called “the Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” I never heard of it until Maggie told me a couple of weeks ago that it was worth reading. I am so surprised I never stumbled across it before. Recently a movie was made about it and I hope to watch it soon.

It is a nonfiction book about a man who was in his prime of life and had a debilitating stroke that left him completely paralyzed. His diagnosis is called “locked-in-syndrome.” The only communication he has with the world is by blinking his eyes. He has no ability to even sit on his own or even eat at all because he cannot swallow. The entire book was written, in fact, by dictating his story by blinking letters that eventually form into words to someone else.

You would expect the book to be very difficult to read. Anyone who lives with his challenges would have every right to complain and feel sorrow, but he uses humor and wit to describe his life and situation. I would love to see his heart turn to the Lord and perhaps he has, yet he still offers hope to those in this world.

It doesn’t matter what abilities you have or do not have, everyone has something to offer. It reminded me that no situation is beyond God’s power to use for His glory. Again he did not write the book from a realization of God, but nevertheless, what I chose to take from it is that we are all here to help others and give of ourselves even if we are only able to talk blinking our eyes. I don’t know if I could do that, but I have had to decide who I was going to be in difficult situations, one of which I thought I would be on dialysis until I got a transplant.

I think it is a good book to read. It is not long, yet it allowed me to be thankful for what I have and not take any moment for granted, even what seems to be pointless ones.

One quote I particularly enjoyed was this one. He is describing what goes on in his mind and life in the hospital he stays at. He is talking about noises.

“Far from such din, when blessed silence returns, I can listen to the butterflies that flutter inside my head. To hear them, one must be calm and pay close attention, for the wingbeats are barely audible. Loud breathing is enough to drown them out. This is astonishing; my hearing does not improve, yet I hear them better and better. I must have butterfly hearing.” (Jean-Dominique Bauby, pg. 97)


Rand and Maggie said...

So glad you enjoyed the book, Olivia. I thought many of the same things as you! I love that you caught the butterfly theme that I know you love. Funny how it showed up there and also in "Bella!" :-)

Yes, do see the movie. I think watching it with the French dialogue and the English captions is best!

Leaders In Learning said...

It sounds like my kind of book. We can all use encouragement to be positive through life's trials.