I borrowed this book from the library yesterday. I have never read Paulo Coelho and expected a short novel, with wise words in it. It’s not a novel. The writer pretends that Jerusalem is standing in front of slaughter the following day and this Copt, stands in front of Christians, Muslims and Jews, answering all questions asked of him. For the life of me, I don’t know why the author chose such a setting because he forgot himself when he starts talking about modern-day phenomena not present in 1099. Like wheelchairs, shirts, modern-day work and many other things. Oh well, noone is perfect, right.
The questions are asked in this manner: Tell us about defeat! Tell us about the defeated! Loneliness. Feeling useless. Being afraid of moving. Beauty. Which way to go. Never having been loved. Not being able to go back to lost moments. Eroticism. What to say to one’s children. Elegance. Duty. Why some are more successful than others. The miracle. Worry. The future. Faithfulness. Weapons to use. Enemies.
Each topic is a chapter and Coelho has nailed them done perfectly. I regret not having bought this book for myself. It’s the sort of book you want to highlight in, and return to when you seek answers or when you feel sad. I have written down a couple of things I liked, for my own benefit, but also for my readers and friends. It would be a great idea to give this book away to friends. Daniel is someone who I know needs to read some of the chapters.
Be are that the following are MY translation of things said in the book, since I read it in Swedish. I am sure Coelho’s translator did a much better job.
“You are not beaten when you have lost a battle, only when you have given up.”
“During the most important moments of our lives, we are always alone.”
“Life is never hopeless. Every soul born to earth, has done so for a purpose, has a reason for being here.”
“Difficulty, is the name of an old tool, that was created just to help us figure out, who we are.”
“Beauty is not being the same, but being different. We should not try to look like the person, that everyone say is beautiful, but be ourselves.” In other words, bag looking at the skinny H&M models, Penelope Cruz’s hair… If you try to look like them, you will just look like a silly copy.
“Noone can turn back, but everyone can move on.” I almost want to turn back the clock on a daily basis, since I want to undo my unwise decisions of the past. I want to live my life over, which is impossible, so this was written for me!
“Suffering is no virtue.” And yet I do it all the time and of course get no sympathy what so ever, since people do not care to look when someone is suffering. People are too busy with their own lives. My daughter told me this morning that her penicillin, for strep throat, is wrecking her entire life. She has to take the pill one hour before eating. Poor her! I tried to put her suffering in another light and told her, “Welcome to my world. This is how the rest of my life will be! I have to take my thyroid medicine at 6:00 to be able to eat breakfast at 7:00.”. Her answer/comment? ANGER! She doesn’t care about my stupid problem!!!
“The person that doesn’t share happiness as well as moments of discouragement, with others, will never learn his/her good and bad qualities.” Well, in my experience, noone else wants to share in ones moments of discouragement. It’s much more fun to share in people’s happiness. Sad really, since it’s in time of sadness, one needs a shoulder to cry on.
“If you want to be accepted, you have to please everyone. But then you will show lack of love for thyself. Never try to please everybody because you will lose everybody’s respect. Only the one loving himself/herself and respecting himself/herself will be loved and respected by others.”
“Avoid those that deem themselves stronger because they are hiding their weakness. Be with those that are not afraid of seeming vulnerable. They trust themselves, they know we all fall sometimes and they do not see it as a sign of weakness but of being human.”
“Avoid those that open the door to your heart to fire a mortal arrow.” Difficult to know ahead, isn’t it???
“Elegance does not sit in the clothes we wear, but in the manner we wear them.”
“The work done only to earn money to survive, is just about selling your time, and you can never buy it back. All your life you will dream of the day that you can retire, but that day, you will be too old to enjoy what life has to offer.”
“Success is to go to bed every evening with peace in your soul.”
“See the small miracles.” Makes me think of “Sparky”, Friday, when I took him to pre-school. Friday is their day of excursion. Meaning that they go for a walk and have a tiny little snack. All the children love it. The last two weeks he has started to help getting himself dressed. It doesn’t go quickly, but slowly and methodically he pulls his socks on. Likewise his trousers. I am SO proud of the smallest task he manages to do himself, since it has taken such a long time to get here. Last Friday, he saw the others getting dressed for their excursion. So he opened his rugsack to get his fleece trousers out, to put over his regular trousers. I saw what would happen. The ones under the fleece, traveled up under the fleece and ended by the knee, on both legs. He looked at me in frustration and said “it is ‘tokigt'”. Tokig means crazy but in saying so, he told me that it is not right under here! So I stuck my hand up under the trousers, the foot way, and pulled the inner trousers down. He laughed with relief and looked at me with admiration. Mamma solved it. Wow! It made my day, that he told me in words, that something was wrong instead of getting hysterical. And it made my day because HE realized that his words worked. That they produced a result. That evening, I let him and the others see a new film upstairs on the car DVD player, so that we could watch a mystery down here. They watched “Horton”. “Sparky” fell in love. How do I know? Because when he woke up early Saturday morning, around 7:00, he laid beside me talking to himself saying “I am 18. I am an elephant. I am Horton!”. (My son is four!) I could not pretend to sleep anymore but had to give him a hug then. He is so cute! He really is a little miracle!
“You should say that ‘I don’t worry about tomorrow because God is already there waiting for me.”
“Life’s wisdom, is the insight that we can become masters over the things that would enslave us.”
“Even if you have lost battles, you have survived. You stand here today. That’s a victory. Show your happiness and celebrate your ability to move on.”
“There is nothing worse than people who think loyalty means accepting all mistakes. There is no weapon so dangerous as the word, it ruins a life without trace of blood and it’s wounds are never healed.” I second that!!!