Impossible Journeys, Impossible Hope
Good medicine for what ails you (particularly self-pity and despair)
If you’re in need of a little pick-me-up, leave the coffee and the wine alone and try one of these books instead.
Frederic: A Story of Boundless Hope by Frederick Ndabaramiye and Amy Parker
On April 7, 1994 the life of Frederick Ndabaramiye and his family changed forever as the Rwandan genocide erupted in their homeland. When Frederick faced those same genocidaires a few years later, he noted the machete that hung from the right hand closest to him and wondered if his would soon be added to the layers of dried blood that clung to the blade. Either way, young Frederick knew that he wouldn’t be able to carry out the orders just given to him, to raise that blade against the other passengers of the bus, regardless of the race marked on their identity cards.
That bold decision would cause Frederick to lose his hands. But the cords that bound him served as a tourniquet, saving his life when his hands were hacked away. This new disability eventually fueled Frederick’s passion to show the world that disabilities do not have to stop you from living a life of undeniable purpose. From that passion, the Ubumwe Community Center was born, where “people like me” come to discover their own purposes and abilities despite their circumstances.
Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham
Hungry, homeless, and bouncing in and out of the foster care system, Jimmy spent more nights wandering and sleeping in the streets than he cares to remember. His father left before he was born. And his mother, when she wasn’t in a mental hospital or behind bars for various small offenses, was simply too overwhelmed with trying to survive herself.
Walk to Beautiful is the story of Jimmy’s childhood and the unconditional love and acceptance Russell and Bea Costner gave to Jimmy. This elderly couple provided a stable home and the chance for him to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, “She changed every cell in my body.” After his high school graduation, Jimmy went on to earn a degree in criminal justice because, as he says, “I knew a lot about it.” But in his heart Jimmy wanted to write songs and sing.
A music company opened its doors to Jimmy, and he moved to Nashville to pursue his dreams. He had several memorable hits, such as I Love You This Much, Paper Angels, and Do You Believe Me Now, which remained at #1 for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Chart.
But success wasn’t satisfying. Jimmy wanted to give back. With his Meet Me Halfway campaign—a 1,700 mile walk from Nashville to Phoenix—Jimmy walked halfway across America, raising awareness for foster children. Along the way, he found a way to forgive the people who had hurt him.
One More Step: My Story of Living with Cerebral Palsy, Climbing Kilimanjaro, and Surviving the Hardest Race on Earth by Bonner Paddock, with Neal Bascomb
The first man with cerebral palsy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and complete the brutal Ironman competition shares the exhilarating adventure that led to his achievements—redefining our ideas of normal and proving that life is never truly limited for any of us.
Diagnosed in his youth, Bonner swore he wouldn’t let this neurological disorder limit him, and for 29 years he guarded the truth about his health. But the sudden death of a friend’s young son who also suffered from CP forced Bonner to reevaluate his life. No longer would he be content striving for normal. Instead he would live life to its fullest, pursuing one breathtaking experience at a time—while raising money for special needs children along the way—and never turn down a challenge for fear of his physical limitations.