Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The study of Life

I've said it before, but I'm a huge fan of documentaries. I've probably seen hundreds of them. I'm generally just fascinated by people and by their stories. I think everyone, no matter who you are or what has happened in your life, has some sort of interesting story to tell, and whatever it is, I probably want to hear about it! I've seen documentaries about all sorts of different things. I like to know about people. I like to know what makes people tick and I like to see life from different points of view.

So anyway, being the documentary lover that I am, I'm a big fan of Netflix and their Watch it Now option. There are hundreds of documentaries on Netflix that you can watch online if you're a subscriber and I've worked my way through a good number of them in the past year or two. There are also thousands more that you can rent through Netflix in the mail. Netflix is my friend. :)

Today it's rainy outside and the kids decided that they wanted to watch a movie (they're still on track break), so I got them set up and then I decided to sit down and watch a documentary. I discovered a new documentary on Netflix called "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father". I knew nothing about it but I'm always happy when Netflix gets something new, so I watched it.

WOW. It was an absolutely heartbreaking story that I'm not even going to go into here because it's disturbing, but it was also extremely eye opening about the legal system in Canada. If you live in Canada and aren't familiar with the story, I encourage you to at least get the basic details and consider writing to your member of Parliament about bail reform because something screwy is going on in that country and it needs to be fixed.

The extremely short version is that someone who was accused of murder and should have been in jail pending trial was let out on bail when they quite obviously shouldn't have been, and the consequences were horrific. It was an extremely well done documentary that I was really impressed with, but I also wasn't prepared for it because I wasn't aware of the story before I started watching it. I highly reccomend the documentary because of the lesson that can be learned from it and the good that can come from people being aware of a problem like that and doing something to fix it, but don't watch it unless you're prepared to handle an extremely disturbing story.

I have a hard time hearing about things like that, but on the other hand I think it's important to be aware of what's going on in the world because nothing will change if people don't do something to change it. The living victims of that case are now doing so much good in the world, trying to prevent what happened to them from happening again. I admire people like that and I think it's those kinds of stories that are the reason I like documentaries so much.

I'm interested in what happens to people in their lives and what they do with the circumstances they've been given. There's a quote in the documentary that says "I think that God puts some people on the Earth to be an example to others" and I think maybe that's true. I think of people like John Walsh and Marc Klaas are perfect of examples of people who have managed to turn something horrific into something that has helped so many people. I'm not sure how they do it, but I'm glad they do.

Two of my very favorite books of all time are Man's Search For Meaning, by Viktor Frankl and The Hiding Place by Corie Ten Boom. Both are stories of people who survived Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Again, disturbing details, but worth hearing about for the lessons that can be learned from it. It's strange to say that two books about Nazi concentration camps are the two books I read when I need to be uplifted, but it's true. Both stories are about people who refused to let their circumstances dictate their happiness in life. I read those books when I'm feeling sorry for myself about something stupid. It reminds me that I have nothing in life to complain about and it those people can find happiness in Nazi concentration camps, I need to slap a smile on my face and stop whining about petty things.

Anyway, I'm still completely disturbed by the documentary I saw today, but I took important lessons from it and that's always good.

So that's story number one. Story number two is sort of along those same lines, only not so disturbing! Yesterday I got the amazing opportunity to "meet" (online) a man who was adopted from Korea as a baby and hear some of his experiences being a Korean adoptee. I hear about parents who have adopted children from Korea all the time, but until yesterday I've never gotten to have a discussion with someone who knows what it's like to be on the other side of it, so it was a really wonderful learning experience for me. His point of view is fascinating to me. I just want to crawl into his head for a while and see all his life experiences. The information he gave me was really valuable and did a lot to help me see things from the other side. I needed to hear from him. I think a lot of times people don't realize how much their life stories can benefit others. I think we all have something to learn from each other and I think that's why I'm so constantly fascinated by people. He listed several books for me to read about Korean adoptees and I'm dying to jump into them.

I appreciate people who are willing to put their lives out there for the benefit of others. I appreciate people who agree to be the subject of a documentary, I appreciate people who share their lives in blogs and I appreciate people who let me pick their brains about what it's like to live their life.

So the moral of my story today is that we all have a valuable life experience to share. We all have a unique point of view that can probably benefit someone else. So find a way to share it! :)


Natalie said...

I'm a very private person but have recently tried harder to share our story. So here you go. Thanks for sharing yours :-)

Tracie said...

Wendy, please e-mail the list of suggested reading to me... if you don't mind sharing! I, too, love to learn from other people's experiences.

Kellie said...

Man's Seach for Meaning is one of my favorite book also! I had to read it for an assignment once and I couldn't out it down. I thought I was the only one!