Recently, I started reading the book Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson. I have been so enthralled in her family and their story. I hardly want to put it down.
In the process of reading this book, I have read a few reviews and comments on the book. Most of it is praise but there are some that are very critical. Some criticize her writing style, or say that it is nothing different than what you can find on her blog, or make terrible comments about how she describes the events of her life (after living what she referred to as a pretty perfect life, she was in a plane crash with her husband and a family friend that killed the family friend, left her husband broken, and took Stephanie to the edge of this life).
It feels so sad to me that people can be so cruel and thoughtless with the words that come so quickly out of their mouths (and fingertips). I feel there is no way to be critical of how she dealt with the accident as I have never been in a situation like that. And to be critical of how she has lived her life seems so one-dimensional. Don't we read books to experience things we normally wouldn't? Whether it is fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, science fiction, mystery: reading is a way to open new worlds. We may not be able to relate or we may wish they would do things different. But the characters are not our creations, the people are not us.
I admire Stephanie for her honestly, for her willingness to share the details of her life, both good and bad. She has used her experiences to open our eyes to worlds that we may or may not understand or relate to (a world of someone who wanted to be a wife and mother first and foremost, a world of absolutely terrible physical and emotional pain, a world of faith despite everything that has come, a world where a loving Heavenly Father helps us through). I respect the courage she has in putting herself and really, all that she holds dear, out there for the world to see, to read, to pick apart, and to criticize. It has had a positive effect in my life and the lives to many others.
It has really made me want to be more careful about what I say and how I say things. Because the words we say matter. They always matter.
(By the way, I have been loving this book. I'll have to tell you more about it later, but if you must know, I think you should read it.)