“Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” -Mother Theresa
Every once in a while, a retreat from the demands of everyday living is in order. Especially if the retreat is accompanied by a steady downpour. It feels good to cuddle up with a book…to caress and smell the pages. It feels good to enjoy reading while savoring a hot cup of tea.
No phone, no computer, no appointments…. Oh, to be sure, there are deadlines. I’ve simply chosen to ignore them. For now.
And what book has so captured my attention? My daughter loaned to me her copy of Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody, first published in 1987. Many of you know about this controversial book, but it is new to me. I have never seen the movie version, nor do I want to, since it departs from the truth of the book. The differences can be seen here.
From the back cover, “In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. To her horror, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter, Mahtob, virtual prisoners of a man rededicated to his Shiite Moslem faith, in a land where women are near-slaves and Americans are despised. Their only hope for escape lay in a dangerous underground that would not take her child… “
I have found this book riveting. It is intense, and I didn’t want to put it down until I finished. I do not see this as an attack on Iranians as a whole, as some have suggested. Indeed, Betty describes the kindness of many. This story is Betty’s story. While Betty tells her testimony, on another level she brings human rights issues to the forefront. We all need to be vigilant about human rights and learn to treat one another with respect.