My father gave me this book last Christmas. It is the true story of fellow Canadian Amanda Lindhout, her kidnapping, and her 460 days as a hostage in Somalia with Australian, Nigel Brennan. Yes, that is not a typo, 460 days.
Since last Christmas, I had the privilege of attending a talk featuring Ms. Lindhout at the University of Alberta. I had not read the book at that point, but I was still moved to tears by her message of forgiveness. I made a point of talking to her afterwards, in order to thank her for her time, wish for her continued healing and give her overall encouragement. We exchanged hugs and she asked me to let her know what I thought of the book (once I had finished).
First off, no one could be harder on herself than Amanda is, regarding what could have been done differently to avoid these events. So let’s move on from the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game. To be fair, I am not even sure Amanda would have listened to a future version of herself warning, “STAY OUT OF SOMALIA!”. She had a fierce, youthful invincibility, which was bolstered by her personality, home life, and previous travels. That said, I wish on no one, what happened in those 460 days. But as it did happen, I can honestly say that I am not sure many people could have handled this situation with the same amount of grace.
In a plight that was meant to break her soul, she came out wiser and stronger. I felt the generosity of her spirit and warmth of her inner light, even as she spoke at the U of A. She has chosen to learn from this experience and spread the message of forgiveness. Although it isn’t easy, she chooses forgiveness daily. I think that is the real story here.
Thank you again, Amanda. I am still wishing you well and I am excited for the beautiful chapters in life that you have yet to write. Be well, be well.
Books read: 4