Lessons of the Lost: A Book Review
I just finished reading this most amazing book. The cool thing is, I not only know the man who wrote it, but I am related to him as well!
I admit, he is not someone I am close to. I'm not sure I've ever actually spoken any significant amount of words to him.
I feel I really just recently 'met' him, and that was by complete chance.
I think I mentioned that I presented at the 'Utah Valley University - Literacy for Change' event a few weeks back. A friend of mine had written a paper on LDS women bound in sex addiction and asked if I would be willing to share a bit of my story. Of course I said yes.
As I sat in the classroom waiting for our presentation to start (ours was one of four presentations for the hour block), my cousin-in-law, Rachel, walked in. What a pleasant surprise that was! Then, when it was time, my friend vacated the chair behind me to begin her presentation and up off the floor came my uncle-in-law, Scott Hammond, to take her place.
I had no idea either of them would be there.
My friend presented. I presented. And then all participants stood at the front of the classroom as a 'panel' to answer questions from the audience.
After a number of questions had been asked, Scott raised his hand and asked one that surprised me, but also filled me with so much gratitude. He acknowledged that all presenters offered meaningful and helpful information but that he was particularly impressed with Steven (another friend of mine who was also presenting) and myself. Scott was impressed that Steven and I were able to stand in the arena, in the problem, and speak from the problem--rather than stand on the outside of the problem and speak about the problem.
He then asked why we have chosen to do so. I smiled because I don't have to think about the answer. It lies deep within me and permeates every aspect of me.
"I was tired of being scared," I said.
It's true. Fear had owned me for far too long. It seemed to captivate every aspect of my life. No more. The other reason, which I didn't express at the time the question was posed. was because I saw a need. Seeing so many other women bound by the same fear and shame gave me the courage to step outside of myself; of my own fear, and talk about it.
As Steven echoed my response, Scott seemed satisfied. At the time I didn't really understand why he asked what he asked--but I've since learned that he has a passion that mirrors my own.
Scott and Rachel had to leave the presentation early and as they rose to do so I saw something left on my desk. He pointed to it with a silent thumbs-up and mouthed the words 'for you.' I silently nodded in response.
As I picked up the book he had left me, I recognized the cover. I'd heard about it and even had it recommended to me, but with all the hustle and bustle of the rest of my life, I just hadn't acquired a copy and read it yet.
Now was my chance!
I was instantly taken by the title, 'Lessons of the Lost.' I can relate to being lost. I have spent most of my life being lost. Not physically lost, per-say, but definitely emotionally and spiritually lost. Becoming found has been the single most important defining moment in my life. Being found by my Savior, by my family, but mostly by myself.
But it all had to start by recognizing and admitting that I was lost in the first place.
I had to find and tap into courage.
Scott's book details his experiences, with his trusty sniffy dog Rusty, as a search and rescue volunteer for Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue. He doesn't just focus on the fear and despair felt by those who were lost, however. But, more-so, he focuses on the power of hope and determination and the fight and desire to not give up, to survive and to live.
There is power in that.
He teaches us, through his own experience and the experience of others, deep lifelong lessons of personal survival that would otherwise by glanced over.
I was particularly impressed with his ability to be vulnerable. Most of you know that I am a huge advocate for vulnerability. I even made up a word to describe myself: a 'vulnerablist,' because I advocate so strongly for vulnerability. He shares of his own experiences being lost, both physically and emotionally, as well as the experiences of his close family members; my family members. He pulls lessons from each in hopes to teach others the tools to avoid the pains of being lost.
And for those who have been lost or are currently lost, he teaches that our experiences are not in vain, but that we can become stronger and wiser because of our circumstances.
I am most grateful for his willingness to speak of shame. My desire to be vulnerable stems from my desire to be free of shame. I cannot feel shame for that which I do not hide. I was somewhat surprised to learn of the shame felt by those who are physically lost... they often mutter words such as:
- I'm so dumb
- How could I let myself get here?
- I should have taken a different route
- My family is going to be so mad at me
- No one will ever look for me
- I am alone
Are these thoughts and feelings I have experienced myself, even though I wasn't physically lost? Yes. Because shame is universal and derived from the same place. Satan. It keeps us bound in isolation where the dark one can strip of us our conviction, resolution, belief, testimony and strength. Shame is death row.
In the end, I am left more resolute to nurture a relationship with my extended family. They are amazing and I love them. If you would like a copy of Scott's book, you can purchase it on Amazon here. I might even be able to land you an autograph!
As a tribute, here is one of my favorite recovery songs. It fits perfectly with the message Scott has so beautifully communicated:
Lost and Found