Lives of Unstoppable Hope: Second Edition (Revised & Expanded)
A downloadable ebook
"I have learned that hope, which I had thought small and delicate like a moth in the night, can be hard as steel, a blade in your hand."
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When Inara Cahira was eleven days old, she suffered catastrophic seizures. Her parents were told she would be unlikely to survive her first year. That she would never stand. That she would never walk. During the dark nights waiting by his daughter Inara's hospital bed and the uncertain years that followed, Stant Litore wrote the original edition of this book, both a deeply personal account of a vigil during the longest night and an insightful study of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in ancient Greek - a study and an experience that challenged everything Litore thought he knew about being "blessed" and "poor in spirit," and what it might mean to live a life of unstoppable hope.
After nine years in the dark, Inara's family has a diagnosis at last, one she shares with just ten other children in the medical literature - but now that geneticists know what to test for, the medical community may find many other infants who suffer as Inara has suffered. Their parents may not have to endure the years of mystery, and can know more about what is happening to their child and what to expect. That, together with her laughter and her dragon-like ferocity, is Inara's gift to the world.
Now Litore invites you to this second edition of Lives of Unstoppable Hope, revised throughout and adding fifty pages of new material to bring his daughter's story up to date, provide fresh meditation on the nature of hope, and consider in a new light one of the earliest Christian hymns in ancient Greek (Phos hilaron).
The book is available in a MOBI (kindle) edition. This book is also available in PAPERBACK at Amazon - or try ordering through your local independent bookstore. ISBN 978-1-7362127-3-8.
EXCERPT FROM THE FIRST CHAPTER:
When my daughter Inara was born three years ago, she immediately began suffering severe seizures. For her first six months of life, we spent as much time in the hospital as out of it, and her mother and I weren’t sure she would make it. I sat in that hospital by her bedside, in the cold of winter. It was warm enough in that carefully sterile place, but I felt cold. I felt angry. I felt exhausted, and determined. The wind that rattled the windows one night seemed to hurl against the hospital glass all the moaning horror and shrieking of a hostile world.
Now my daughter is improving, and we are on the other side of that time together. Yet those nights by her bed are recent in my heart, and they hurt. I don’t know what the past few years have meant, only that the love I now hold for those I call my own is fiercer than anything I have ever felt. I have learned that hope, which I had thought small and delicate like a moth in the night, can be hard as steel, a blade in your hand.
This book is about the Beatitudes, and about my daughter, and it is about unstoppable hope. Wherever I go in my journey with my youngest daughter or in my journey with my God, the Beatitudes pursue me, and I can’t escape them.
The Beatitudes are my siren song.
Whenever I read them, whether in our rough but workable English or in the melodic, exuberant Greek, the Beatitudes come to me like a call out of the dark. I stand lashed to the mast of my boat, with the howl of the wind and the crash of the sea against my gunwales, and the Beatitudes rebuke me, telling me I am not living fully, that I am living as a man lashed to a stick of wood on a mighty ocean that might devour me, that a stick of wood is no security. The Beatitudes entice me, telling me to step off my boat into—onto—the dark, deep water. To walk across the waves, come what may. They come to me like a seduction. My rational mind knows that should I step over the gunwale, I will be devoured. The sea is without mercy and without compassion; it is too deep and too dark. I know I will not survive that leap, any more than Odysseus would survive flinging himself from his ship to swim toward the sirens who have devoured so many mariners before. I try to stop my ears, but I can’t. So I tie myself tighter to this mast. Maybe I can ride out the storm of life; probably that will be futile, but at least I will have this mast, this stick I am roped to, this fragile splinter of sanity in an insane world.
The Beatitudes keep calling, calling to me.
They are a quiet, insistent voice in the crash of the storm.
They are honey in my ears. They are wine in my mouth.
They are a hope for the impossible.
Makarios, they whisper, makarios.
The most beautiful of words. Makarios. Blessed.
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