This is a story of one human being's miraculous ability to survive a relentless stream of conditions that most of us would simply not live through. It certainly helps put a person's troubles into perspective. There is always something to whine or worry about and it helps the rest of us realize how easy we have it. We suffer over poor service at a restaurant, a thoughtless remark from a coworker, or having nothing "good" to eat in the house. Lord! Unbroken should be required reading for every middle or upper middle class whiner or potential whiner.
UPDATE: So I stopped writing this "review" or whatever it was yesterday and just saved it in my drafts folder. I might as well release it now because I realize that I'll never finish writing it in the way I had intended. The reason is that I feel I have no right to comment at all on this man's life. His experiences are so far out of the realm of my reality that all I can do is be a humble spectator and hope that his story was moved into my awareness for a reason.
Those of you who are Spock-types or (more confusing to me) religious but you don't believe that there is any divine intervention in your daily lives will not appreciate my constant search for patterns with meaning. That is the way I think -- whether I may be judged as superstitious, gullible, ignorant, etc. -- looking for patterns and the lessons in them is compulsory. That's the way I roll. I respect the scientific method, believe that evolution is a reality, and I also think that there is a reason I am here and that clues are being dropped all the time (by... some intelligent being...?) with the intent that I notice and learn from them. Maybe the person reading this extremely obscure and self-indulgent blog might wonder why they are reading a discussion of Louis Zamperini and the loss of everything save the will to survive... maybe?
So, just as I have been noticing a pattern of these issues of poverty coming to me (see previous posts), Unbroken is a continuation of this. This is a true story of a man who was stripped of everything -- food, safety, shelter, clothing, health, intimacy, love, vocation, and respect -- and managed to not only live but come through whole on the other side. What do these illustrations of scarcity and loss mean for me? Is it trying to tell me that I shouldn't feel sorry for myself? Is it encouraging me to take my skills and privilege and do something dramatically unselfish? It's not all that obvious yet, but I feel sure it has something to do with my reactive misery* over this job search.
When I was a little younger, good career opportunities just fell in my lap and I took them for granted. Though I was the sought after individual, I was probably not always the best person for these positions because I didn't have the kind of deep work ethic that I have now. When I was teaching in public school, I did have a powerful work ethic, but approximately ten years ago my life situation (i.e. new mother) interfered with my being the best that I could be; I had a job to do that was even more important than breaking down the literary elements in Of Mice and Men (and I do not underestimate the importance of that, not one bit). I had to leave long enough to get my babies launched into health and well-being. Now that I've gotten them there, I'm feeling lack -- lack of money, lack of connections, and lack of good opportunities. This is a new and depressing experience for me, especially since I know that I am a good bet to be a loyal, humble, long-term employee because my family and I are so ready -- and I want it so bad.
We don't always gets just what we want in life. Louis Zamperini prayed for rescue, first from a raft on the Pacific and later from a POW camp. I'm praying for something much less dramatic -- just a job that fits me -- that will pay my bills and allow me to put money away for college before my children turn eighteen. My wants are laughable compared to his -- absolutely ludicrous -- but feeling ridiculous about it doesn't make me want it any less. I'm hoping that I will figure out this lesson about poverty soon, because I have this idea that figuring it out will get me unstuck.