free web stats Lost in the Eternity of the Here and Now: February 2008
Sola Scriptura · Solus Christus · Sola Gratia
Sola Fide · Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

Many years ago I was doing a phone interview with a scholarship committee. They liked my application and essay enough that they wanted to talk to me directly. One of the questions they asked was, “Who is your hero?” I sat in silence for a moment, my mind racing, trying to come up with an appropriate answer. I fumbled around for a moment or so and then blurted out something like Bill Gates or some other such nonsense. Sure, I admired Bill for being able to do the whole Microsoft thing, you know, and become one of the richest men in the world. He was a tribute to nerd-dome, a reminder that this is America, where success is available to those who want it. Deep inside though, even though his achievement was great, a hero? That was a bit of a stretch.

Looking back, I have never really had a hero. Some people might scoff and say, hey, aren’t you a Christian? Shouldn’t Jesus be your hero? I would argue no, Jesus should not be one’s hero. A hero should be a normal person who has accomplished extraordinary feats. Someone who has been tested and proven his worth. But wait, that describes Jesus to a tee, right? Be careful. Notice I said a normal person. Jesus was far from ordinary. True, he was fully human, but he was also fully God, and therefore, by my definition at least, he should not be considered a hero. He is far above hero, he is God the Son. What about parents? Again, most parents cannot fit the definition simply because they are doing something normal, that is, parenting. Even if they do a really good job of it, hero just doesn’t fit.

So, I never had a hero as a kid. In fact, it was not until last month that I finally found a hero. His name is Marcus Luttrell. He was a Navy SEAL sent to Afghanistan to fight the war on terror. He went through hellish training to prove himself as a SEAL, and then went through a ferocious battle which still leaves me in awe. He recorded his story in his book Lone Survivor, a New York Times Bestseller. (do not read the review on that page, it will spoil too much.) As the title of the book implies, he and his team are sent in on a mission. He is the only one who makes it out. This masterful retelling of this harrowing story elicited the whole gamut of emotion from me. I laughed in joy, sat on the edge of my seat, was disgusted, got teary-eyed from sadness, teary-eyed from elation and fulfillment, and finally left felling very satisfied. The pace is quick, and even though you know the eventual outcome, the path taken to get there does not stop you rooting for those men of his group that you know will eventually die. Their bravery and heroism, their professionalism, and the compassion that ultimately led to their deaths makes these men heroes in my eyes. And lastly, Luttrell shows a brief glimpse of the enemy. Yes they are savage, yes they are determined to destroy us. But they are also a people with a rich culture of honor and respect. In the end, his enemies were those who kept him alive.

If you have a chance, I cannot recommend this book enough. If you are like me and find the world of Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Heath Ledger to be unfulfilling, devoid of any real heroism, give Marcus Luttrell a chance. You won’t be disappointed.
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