Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Hiding Place

This afternoon I finished reading a fantastic book! The Hiding Place is about a Dutch Christian family who hides Jews in their home amidst the German occupation of Holland during the second world war. In addition to being a fantastic, true story, it is full of profound examples of people who truly live the teachings of Christ.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, however at times it is difficult to read. It treats the gruesome subject matter delicately, but it is difficult to not physically cringe at some of the atrocities described. Several times while reading, I was overcome with emotion and wanted to cry out, "How could people do such terrible things?"
I had an experience while reading The Hiding Place that was completely new to me. I should first explain that it is very rare for me to have an emotional response due to something I am reading. I love reading, and I get really into books, but I always seem to separate what I read from any sort of real feeling. I suppose I usually read purely for enjoyment. Last week I was in the Union Building on campus, and I had a break between classes, so I decided to read the next chapter in my spare time. The chapter I read happened to be Chapter 5, entitled Invasion. Some hard things are described in this chapter. For the first time in my life, there in the middle of the Union Building, I broke down in tears because of something I had read. I don't think I want to describe why I became so emotional during this particular chapter; I wouldn't want to potentially spoil anything. I imagine that everyone who reads this book has a slightly different reaction to it, but it surprised me how much feeling came through those words.
One of the most wonderful elements of the book, is that despite the horrors that are described, the prevailing theme of the book is gratitude and faith. Gratitude for all things, and in all circumstances. At one point, the barracks of a concentration camp are described as being completely infested with fleas. Upon arriving in the filthy place, one of the imprisoned women kneels down and thanks God for the fleas. It wasn't until much later that they discovered that they had enjoyed a great deal of freedom in those barracks thanks to those fleas. The guards hated going into that particular barracks, so the female inmates were able to get away with a lot of things that otherwise would not have been possible. The women were able to hold religious services and openly teach from The Bible, all thanks to a flea infestation.
It is fitting that I finished reading such an amazing book on Thanksgiving Day. I would like to thank my friend Melanie for recommending it to me. In turn, I recommend The Hiding Place to all my friends.


Erica said...

I read this book for the first time a few years ago and loved it! if it makes you feel better, I broke into tears as well. Not on campus though :)

Robby Spratt said...

It is a super good book!