“My sister, Swede, who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed--though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here's what I saw. Here's how it went. Make of it what you will.”
― Leif Enger
You know when you finished a book and you're not sure where to start from there? I don't mean just moving on to your next book and deciding what to read next. I mean picking up and continuing with the rest of your life like you are the same person you were before you read it.
Peace Like a River was that book for me. It follows Rueben, a kid whose brother is an outlaw - on the run from the feds. He and his Saint-worthy dad and his sister Swede (maybe my favorite fictional character since Hermione Granger) trek across the country to find him. And there's this one scene in the cafeteria that touched me in the saddest most heart-wrenching way and that's all I will say about that, but if we talk about it in person I might cry.
It is a story of heroism and faith and miracles. There is one part that says so simply and nonchalantly, "We armored our hearts." And I've been thinking a lot about that phrase ever since. Is that not the best definition we have of courage? We step into the unknown and we gear up and we face the hard things and the disasters and the pain life throws at us. We armor our hearts when we are vulnerable. We armor our hearts when we try something new. We armor our hearts when we allow ourselves to dream.
Peace Like a River was a story of sacrifice and family. It's my new go-to when people ask me what to read. (Along with my old faves like The PoisonWood Bible and My Antonia.) Read it if you are lacking some faith. It will cure that right up.