Book Review of Shelley Hitz's Finding Hope in the Midst of Tragedy
by Julie Saffrin
When life upends, and unfairly so, what do you do?
Shelley Hitz's memoir-self-help book, Hope in the Midst of Tragedy will help you journey through the disorder, unknowns and not-in-control feelings that come. You'll find a friend in these pages as you live and experience Hitz's account of learning to cope with the unexpected. Hitz's father went into a coma and came out with traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being assaulted in 2009.
Your circumstances may be different, but we are creatures of emotions and where there's hurt, there's most likely anguish. Hitz describes her feelings this way: "My emotions have been up and down today, ranging from sadness to grief to guilt to anger to fear," she writes. "They say this is normal to have a flood of conflicting emotions in this part of the crisis response called "recoil." Normal or not, it's not very fun!"
Recoil. Curling inward, lashing out. What a great word to describe the springing of our emotions. Ordinary reactions to disturbance.
But Hitz doesn't leave herself or us there. Nor does she give us, as Simon and Garfunkel sang, "false hope." She gives us "hope," an action word. If you like picture words, envision, as some ancients did, its definition, "leaping with expectation."
These leaps are sometimes barely visible to the eye, yet, how isn't this how much of change happens - in small increments? Hitz's "hope" comes from signs from above and everyday life, in the beautiful and sometimes simple ways such as her father's squint of trying to understand what's being said to him as he comes out of coma. In this moment, any movement at all brought hope.
Where Hitz could have chosen to live in anger toward someone who hurt her father, where she could have blamed God for allowing this awful circumstance to happen, Hitz instead, chose to embrace loving God through some hard, dark days.
Her books reads in diary form so we experience her inches gained, some miles lost, with her. Because of this, we experience her emotional range too. We applause in the minor and major milestones too.
Her Scripture choices were so comforting. Take the time to look at the ones Hitz does not write out in her book. They are true sources to heal a heart.
The From My Heart to Yours sections are designed for you to apply to your circumstances. I love that she gives her readers a way to ponder and express themselves too.
The beauty of Hitz's writing is, she gets to the heart of what she's feeling but then uses Scripture to help her journey toward healing. And just as it takes time for her father to restart his life, so too, does this give Hitz permission to allow God to gently teach her. And we, in turn, are given this chance as well.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who yearns to find comfort while going through life's unexpected detours. You will feel refreshed and hope-filled as you know you are not alone in your journey. Hitz has gone before you and she offers you the joy she has found in the process. This is a book that is heartfelt, yet so inspiring.