I just finished reading the heart wrenching tale of a young woman who survived against formidable odds, the horrific slaughter of over one million Rwandan Tutsis in three short months. Immaculée Ilibagiza is a friend of one of my patients who lent me the book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust. The foreword is written by a favorite of mine and perhaps yours…Dr. Wayne Dyer.
I don’t usually make a blanket statement like, “everyone should read this book”, but in this case, I will. Everyone should read this book.
There are tremendous lessons for all of us that are very relevant and timeless. I was angry, sad, perplexed, horrified, enlightened, encouraged and even ashamed while reading Immaculée’s story.
As a young girl, her family and friends slaughtered by people she knew her entire life, witness to mass murder, and forced to survive for ninety-one terrifying days with seven other women in a tiny bathroom. Not only did she survive but during the genocide and after, she was divinely guided to forgive the atrocities she witnessed and endured.
Her spiritual transformation is astounding.
I felt humbled and ashamed as I read the hardships, mental and physical, she and others lived through. Realizing the pettiness of my own complaints living day to day in this most blessed and magnificent country; with freedom, religious and otherwise with every possible luxury, needs and wants within easy access and readily filled. Though I’ve been to impoverished areas on my medical missions and witnessed hardships, I have not suffered. And nothing compares to the brutality, horror and suffering that accompanies genocide.
World history abounds with many examples of these horrific events and yet it continues today. We saw it with Nazi Germany and the attempted extinction of the Jews and we are witnessing it today with the slaughter of Christians in the Middle East.
Be prepared to take any emotional roller coaster ride and have tissue on hand while reading this book. It is a fascinating read that will make you reflect on your life, think deeper, and ask questions about yourself and humanity.
There is a very real opportunity to grow from reading “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.” I’ll be very interested in discussing your thoughts afterward.
Stay strong, even vigilant, work on healing yourself, others and the planet.
Love and Blessings,
Dr. Rick Barrett