I prefer to look away.
We're currently watching a great series on Netflix that is a little too graphic for me. I like the characters and story enough that I'm sticking with it, but several times in each episode, I look away. Lately I've been frustrated because one particularly violent scene is replayed, without warning, in the pre-show recap.
Last year I was asked to review a book about a really hard subject. I passed. I didn't think I could handle it. You can't look away from the written word in quite the same way, you know? You might think that mere words would be less potent than a visual image. Wrong.
I mean, just consider the "mere words" of the Stanford sexual assault victim impact statement.
I read it. I probably wouldn't have read it if I hadn't already taken the risk of reading some hard testimony about a violent sexual assault.
I don't know why I said yes to receiving an advance copy of Ruth Everhart's forthcoming book, Ruined. I suppose it's because I respect Ruth and her writing so much. She asked me to read her book. I didn't want to; I wanted to look away. But I didn't.
It was hard to read, I'm not going to lie. Harrowing at times.
She asks the hardest questions. She rejects the easiest answers. Ruth's bravery, resilience, honesty, and intelligence - emotional and otherwise - makes reading Ruined so worth the risk of becoming a witness to her pain.
I keep thinking of the centurion who called out to Jesus - only speak the word, and my servant will be healed.I suspect these powerful words of Ruined will be healing to many.
(Ruined releases in early August, but is currently available for pre-order. Pre-orders are a great way to support writers.)