Thursday, June 21, 2012

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

"And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery." -Anne Frank

Anne Frank's astonishing and lucid life undertaking reached me through one of the best movies in my list, Freedom Writers that is starred by Hilary Swank. A fragment of Anne's story was discussed in the said movie and in fact, some of the actors even read several of the many heart-breaking excerpts from the book. Upon getting enlightened by her unbelievable story, I knew right then and there that I had to get a copy of this book. Actually, it took a few years before I got a hard-copy of it but it was worth the wait. 

Imagine a life inside a small box.




A life of nothingness.

This was the kind of life Anne Frank had to live in. Generally, she was living a blissful life as a 13 year old girl and then one day, everything seemed to have turned upside down and the only life she knew how to live was suddenly nabbed from her. She was forced to go through a kind of living that any 13 year old doesn't deserve.

It was in the year 1942, the time when Nazis was still occupying Holland, the time when Anne and her family had to flee from their home in Amsterdam and hide. It didn't take long before they were traced and had to live with another family in what they labelled as the "Secret Annexe" located in an old office building. They had to endure hunger, boredom and the consequences of living in confined dwellings and worst, the possible discovery of their whereabouts that could lead into death.

Upon reading Anne's diary chapter after chapter drew me to so many questions. Why did they have to live through such a gruesome life if they could have lived otherwise? Why did they have to suffer even if there was an option not to let them? Why did a lot of people have to die even if they didn't have to? It was an issue of arrogance, greed of power and discrimination that led to the sufferings of a 13 year old dreamer and I am pretty sure there were a lot of Anne Franks out there whose dreams were cut short too because of the fact that there were some people who couldn't live without mercilessly putting innocent people through such terrible ordeal.

Through Anne's diary I learned to love more. To love people regardless of color, culture and personal belief. There are myriad of reasons why we're living in such a chaotic world and one of the reason is because we can't accept the fact that people are different and most importantly we can't learn to love people for who they are. If we could just learn to love one another and be kind to another, we can move mountains and definitely bestow peace that has never been given to this ever-deranged world of ours.

This book is an eye-opener and an inspiration to anybody.

By the way, as I was reading this book, I took the time to take note of my favorite quotes from her diary.


"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."

"As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."

"Riches can all be lost, but that happiness in your own heart can only be veiled, and it wills till bring you happiness again, as long as you live. As long as you look fearlessly up into the heavens, as long as you know that you are pure within, and that you will still find happiness."

"Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and recapture happiness in yourself and in god. Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy."

"And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery."

"I can shake off everything if I write;my sorrow disappears, my courage is reborn. I can recapture everything when I write, my thoughts, my ideals, and my fantasies."

"Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction."

"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

"If you have a past that dissatisfies you, forget it now. Imagine a new story of your life, and believe in it. Concentrate only on those moments in which you achieved what you desired, and this strength will help you to accomplish what you want." - Elijah

If I would name a walking inspiration in my life, one of them would be Paulo Coelho simply because he breathes encouraging thoughts through his novels that triggers a blast of motivation to a person's life. I remember the very first novel of Paulo that I read, "The Alchemist", it taught me to follow my dreams and fulfill my purpose in life. Next was, "The Devil and Miss Prym", it made me embrace my strengths and weaknesses as a human being and despite my weaknesses present within me, I can always choose to do the right thing. "Veronika Decides to Die", taught me to value my life and always live it to the fullest. "Like a Flowing River" taught me to persevere in the pursuit of my personal goals and to never ever give up in times of challenges and last but absolutely not the least, "The Fifth Mountain" that taught me the value of having a strong faith in God and how limitless is a man's reach with a mighty faith.

"The Fifth Mountain" is one of the recent books of Paulo Coelho that I've read. The story begins in the ninth century B.C. The Phoenician Princess Jezebel wants all the prophets who renounce to bow down to the pagan god Baal to be executed. While the order from the princess is in the process, Elijah was advised by an angel of God to escape from Israel and find refuge in the land of Zarephath. Unexpectedly, he finds true love in the said land with a young widow but his new found joy is  about to disappear when his faith in God is tested through a whirlwind of unfortunate events that is cast upon him. 

The ordeal that Elijah had to face somehow resembles human beings' problems in real life. Whenever we cross paths with any difficulty, we tend to ask God why, what for and how are we going to go through this and of course we don't get any verbal answer from him and so we get hurt, not because God doesn't respond to us but because of the fact that we are in a total rut. We cry and eventually, sometimes, we find someone or something to blame knowing that doing those things can never really ease the pain. At some point we want to give up because we feel that it's hopeless. This is exactly what Elijah was feeling while he traverses the rocky paths he had to take. 

After reading the book, I realized that Elijah symbolizes every human being in this world. Each and everyone of us faces challenges everyday. Some challenges are a walk in the park but some are "Mission Impossible". Either way, we seek strength from our personal inspiration, it could be a God we believe in, a family member, music or anything that can help us go through any challenge with flying colors.

Personally, I hold on to God in my highest and lowest times. He may not answer my questions verbally but he has answered a lot of my questions so far through every trials I have faced in my life. Sometimes I would get confused and think maybe God doesn't like me so much he fills my life with relentless misery. However, in my 20 years of existence, I know for a fact that God is not destruction and that God is not misery. I personally believe that God is love and God is hope. Since God is nothing but goodness, I can safely say that behind every ugly faced ordeal is a shining light of love and hope that can sweep even the darkest corner in a person's life.