Doug Stanton · 339 pages
Rating: (15K votes)
“Where does a man go when there are no more corners to turn, when he's running out of hope, out of luck, out of time?”
“They’d been afloat now without food, water, shelter, or sleep for over forty hours. Of the 1,196 crew13 members who’d set sail from Guam three days earlier, probably no more than 600 were still alive. In the previous twenty-four hours alone, at least 200 had likely slipped beneath the waves or been victims of shark attack. Since the sinking, each boy had been floating through the hours asking himself the same hard question: Will I live, or do I quit?”
“McCoy, drained and hollow-eyed, couldn't take his eyes off the life vest belonging to the boy who'd slipped away from the group during the night. The empty vest spooked McCoy. All its straps were still tightly tied-it looked like some trick that Houdini might've played. Then McCoy peered into the water and got another shock: the boy was floating below him, spread-eagled, about fifteen feet below the surface. He lay motionless until a current caught him; then it was as if he were flying in the depths. Jesus, McCoy thought, Mother of God. He started saying the rosary over and over. McCoy had never been overly religious; his mom was the spiritual one in the family. But now he began the process of what he'd later call his purification; he'd started asking God to forgive him of his sins. He was resolved to live but he was getting ready to die.”
“The sharks had, in fact, remained a constant presence throughout the men's ordeal, even during the daylight hours. Not long after [navy pilot] Gwinn showed up, a massive shark attack--involving an estimated thirty fish--had, in about fifteen minutes, taken some sixty boys perched on a floater net.”
“For the survivors, the disaster of the Indy is their My Lai massacre or Watergate, a touchstone moment of historic disappointment: the navy put them in harm's way, hundreds of men died violently, and then the government refused to acknowledge its culpability.
What's amazing, however, is that these men, unlike contemporary generations who've been disappointed by bad government, are not bitter. Somehow, a majority brushed aside their feelings of rancor and went on to help build the booming postwar American economy of the fifties.”
“. . . the sun set . . . with guillotine-like speed this close to the equator.”
“Accurate data on shark attacks on World War II servicemen may never be known since medical records did not note them. In fact, the navy was sufficiently concerned about loss of morale that it discouraged public mention of the menace.”
“So how do you know when the boy's perfect for you?' Dulcie asked
Betty gave her a tender look. 'You'll just know. That sounds vague, I know, but it's true.”
“Blemishes on the beauty of a person one loves are like grace notes adding something to a piece of music.”
“I was in that dark, self-destructive place. I was up one minute, down the next. Soaring and crashing and crashing and soaring; the roller coaster from hell.”
“la vida es un rompecabezas infinito que tiene tantas piezas que, las encajes como las encajes, la imagen nunca se termina.”
“You need to forgive me. Now that really blew her away. Forgive God? This idea is going to cause some readers to freak out. Just listen for a moment. If you are holding something in your heart against Jesus—the loss of someone you love, a painful memory from your past, simply the way your life has turned out—if you are holding that against Jesus, well, then, it is between you and Jesus. And no amount of ignoring it or being faithful in other areas of your life is going to make it go away. In order to move forward, you are going to need to forgive Jesus for whatever these things are. “But Jesus doesn’t need our forgiveness!” you protest. I didn’t say he did. I said that you need to forgive Jesus—you need it. Let me be clear: To forgive a person, we pardon a wrong done to us; “Forgiving” Jesus means to release the hurt and resentment we hold against him. This comes before understanding. We don’t often know why things have happened the way they have in our lives. What we do know is that we were hurt, and part of that hurt is toward Jesus, because in our hearts we believe he let it happen. Again, this is not the time for sifting theological nuances, but this is why it is so important for you to look at the world the way Jesus did—as a vicious battle with evil. When you understand you have an enemy that has hated your guts ever since you were a child, it will help you not to blame this stuff on God. Anyhow, the facts are it happened, we are hurt that it happened, and part of us believes Jesus should have done something about it and didn’t. That is why we need to “forgive” him. We do so in order that this part of us can draw near him again, and receive his love. Perhaps part of the fruit of that restoration will be that Jesus will then be able to explain to us why things happened the way they did. This is often the case. But whether we receive this or not, we know we need Jesus far more than we need understanding. And so we forgive—meaning, we release the offense we feel towards him.”
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