Reviewing a book and my life

Afghanistan is a place that has captured my imagination. Not that it’s an imaginary place; it’s just that I haven’t been there (yet) and have drawn up images in my mind of what the place must be like. The images have come from reading and from occasional glimpses of photographs in magazines and on news websites, from images flickering across the tv screen.

Over the past couple of years I have read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. These two gut-wrenching stories piqued my interest in the country and its people even further. So while browing the juvenile section of the local library another title jumped out at me: Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. While not as graphic as Hosseini’s novels, this book gave the same picture of Afghan culture, the same sense of cyclical desperation and hope faced by those who lived in Afghanistan in the late 20th and early 21st Century.

It occurred to me to read more about Afghanistan…but how to find the time to do research and read history books?

Then one day, while lying down looking at the bookcase near the foot of the bed, a title jumped out at me.

Inside Afghanistan.

A friend had given me this book several (7?) years ago with a pile of other things she was getting rid of. I had always meant to read it …no more ‘buts’…I got up immediately, took the book off the shelf and began reading.

The man who wrote the book, John Weaver, is no famous writer or theologian. In fact his writing style is nothing special. But it doesn’t have to be. The events that took place in his life and his reflections on those events simply had to be written down in order to fully engage and captivate a reader like me. What captivated me most was this man’s ability to stay focused on God and on his work while at the same time being completely immersed in a culture that was almost entirely Islamic. He was as constant in his love of the country and people of Afghanistan as he was in his love for God.

It was a refreshing read for me, exhausted as I am on most days. So I can review the book, and recommend it, but I think the real challenge is to review my life, my mission, my concern for those who might be in need around me and in the world. John Weaver stands as an excellent model for me in this.

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