The Secret of Counting Gifts
Author: Heidi Kreider
Summary: For 28 years, Kris and Liz have been roommates, best friends and later next door neighbors. They have lived life and supported one another through marriage, babies, miscarriage, depression, death, and infidelity. 28 years will be all they have as Liz loses her battle with breast cancer. On her last night, they look back and count the gifts of gratitude that has made up their story. (via www.smashwords.com)
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Every now and then, you’ll find a book that would touch a very deep place in your heart. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter did that a few years ago for me. The Secret of Counting Gifts did it again just recently.
It’s a short read. The book is composed of 29 chapters (plus an epilogue) with a narration that slips back and forth between the present (Liz’ last night with her friends and family) and the past (the 28 years that comprised Liz’ and Kris’ friendship). I say it’s a short read because the individual chapters are actually pretty short and the language Kreider uses is actually pretty simple. Simple, but touching nonetheless.
I almost cried while reading the last chapter. My emotions have been pretty placid the past days — perhaps I’d have cried more during one of my more emotional seasons — but that chapter definitely left a mark.
She held my hand when I buried my father and I stood with her when her husband walked out. It was I who encouraged Liz to pursue her dream of song writing when she lacked purpose, and it was I who found her agent. When my son was deployed, it was Liz who framed his army portrait and put it in her mantle. (Chapter 1)
She knew peace could only come from surrendering that bitterness. She knew that freedom comes from forgiveness. She knew. (Chapter 9)
“Kris, I’ve found Jesus.” Liz announced. “Was he lost?” I asked, confused. (Chapter 11)
Isn’t this how it is? Even while we wait for death, we live. We , who are alive, keep living. We go on, day after day, saying things like, “I’d die if I had to do that” or “that scares me to death.” We speak so glibly of dying and death. We know nothing of that which we speak. (Chapter 12)
“More than anything,” she said, gently brushing tears from my face, “continue counting. Count with me to the end and keep counting after I’ve gone.” (Chapter 28)
This book shows how life becomes more meaningful when we begin to count the gifts it has given us. When we live lives filled with gratitude, you can look back at anything — depression, failed marriages, miscarriages, cancer — and say that it’s still all worth it.
There are portions that some people might find preachy, though. But again, the book is a gem. Read it. It might just change your life.
*Smashwords is an ukay-ukay for books like Noistrade is one for music. You have to scour through piles of mostly independently published books (some with “just okay” writing) to get that find that you’ll treasure forever. Drop by if you’re a fan of e-books. Your next good read might there waiting for you today.