Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
One of the most fascinating books that has recently found its way into my library is My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. Taylor tells a gripping story of how she survived, and recovered from, a massive stroke that had left her without the functions of her brain’s left hemisphere.
What makes the book unique is the fact that Taylor was an accomplished Harvard brain scientist at the time of her stroke, and that she had enough sense to conclude that the experience of losing half her mind was the research opportunity of a lifetime. And so she began taking mental notes in her dazed and confused state, ultimately leaving us with a striking memoir, through the eyes of a scientist, of what it’s like to experience the deterioration of the left brain and its functions. Also, she provides an extremely practical step-by-step account of her recovery.
Taylor’s bravery was rewarded: The book became a New York Times bestseller and gave her international renown. Recently Ron Howard has signed on to direct the film of the book.
Reading it, I could not help but think of Paul’s words above. What do we do when we experience severe affliction? Do we become bitter and despondent? Do we blame others? Do we shake our fists at God? Or do we, like Taylor, see our affliction as the research opportunity of a lifetime; as a unique lesson of God’s infinite grace in the face of human pain and suffering that no textbook or sermon can ever convey?