In this marvelous book, the author, a doctor and therapist, tells healing stories about her experiences with her patients, most of them dealing with life-threatening illnesses. One of the most moving is about the promising young athlete whose career was cut short by the amputation of a cancerous leg. In his rage and despair, he had drawn a picture of himself as a vase with a huge jagged black crack.
Gradually this young man began to care about others who were facing similar losses in their lives. Read the moving, beautiful outcome of this story:
The young man began visiting other young people in surgical wards, helping families and parents understand what was needed, and cheering up the patients themselves. (The woman he ended up falling in love with and marrying was one of those patients; he met her after her double mastectomy.)
His life changed. From anger and despair, he began to feel a sense of meaning and hope. After some time, he returned to visit the author and she brought out the old drawing of the vase with the black crack. When she asked him if he remembered doing it, he looked at it for a long time and then said, “It’s not really finished.” He took a yellow crayon from the author’s basket and began to draw thick yellow lines radiating out from the crack in the vase to the very edge of the paper. He was smiling. Finally he put his finger on the crack, looked at her, and said softly, “This is where the light comes through.”
As Dr. Remen says, “Suffering shapes the life force, sometimes into anger, sometimes into blame and self-pity. Eventually it may show us the freedom of loving and serving life.”