I can honestly say that, when I tossed around the idea of “On The Bookshelf”, I never would have guessed that this book, this topic, would be the first one I tackled.
Death. Religion. Finding strength in pain.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this was a tough one.
But, the first few pages behind the cover boast 30 (!) rave reviews – and this gut wrenching story earned every. single. one.
“This book isn’t a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion.”
On December 20, 2012, Levi and Jennie Lusko were faced with the impossible.
They rushed to the emergency room when their bright-eyed, witty, wise beyond her years, lion of a five-year old Lenya, was overcome by an asthma attack… And came home without her.
Death doesn’t always call ahead. It comes to us in many ways, but often it is a surprise.
If you’ve experienced the loss of someone close to you, you know what a deep, dark place grief can become. It’s a monster that, when it rears its ugly head, hurts worse than any physical pain could ever even begin to compare to. And if you haven’t? Levi does phenomenal at putting into words just how this inexplicable leviathan feels.
I’ll admit it, I was nervous to take the plunge on this book after reading the description. I wondered if it would be too hard to read about someone else’s grief. He lost a CHILD for goodness sake! How could reading someone else’s tale of woe help me, wouldn’t it just make things worse?
But, this book isn’t your run of the mill “how to deal with grief” self-help book. It’s not your average, candy-coated pages full of religious notions such as, “God only takes the best. He has a plan. She’s in a better place now.” No, it’s more of an “owner’s manual” for grief. A handbook for fighting to keep the grave from getting the final say.
“Death is not the end of the road; it’s just a bend in the road.”
One thing that Lusko says resonated straight to the core for me. You know when you read a line, and you feel it in your bones? Yeah, this was one of those for me.
“Between Jesus’ burial on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday, there was a Saturday. Good Friday is famous, and Easter Sunday is awesome, so we understandably think and talk about these two days most often. But in between, there is a day that doesn’t get a lot of play.
Levi Lusko uses the story of his Lenya Lion to remind us of the importance of making the most of our time here in this “Saturday” between birth and our return to Heaven. Things get tough here on Earth, but the knowledge that an eternal life beyond our wildest dreams is waiting for us? That’s worth waking up in the morning and living life to the fullest, even in the wake of tremendous loss.
He – in no uncertain terms – to face the toughest moments of our lives head on.
To look at the old pictures. To listen to the songs. To eat at the restaurants.
To keep the memories alive. To feel the feelings.
To push through the temptation to allow the dark days to swallow us whole.
To take ownership of our grief, and turn it into our strength.
“Through The Eyes of a Lion” is a book based around the Christian faith, but there are lessons that will resonate with non-believers as well. If you’re on the fence, or unsure what you believe – I’d encourage you to check it out. And if you’re thinking “But I’ve never dealt with death.” The lessons this book shares are applicable in so many different areas, that no two people will read the same words but get the same message.
So whether you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, the end of a marriage, the end of a job – or maybe even just seeking some inspiration to find your purpose and make this life meaningful. This one is definitely worth a read.
Cue the eagle. Sunday is on its way.