A Mighty Heart

For graduation, Kelly sent me a gift card from Barnes & Noble. In her note she said, " you deserve an opportunity to buy a book you actually want to read now." Perusing the islands of books stacked neatly on tables throughout the store, I wandered over to a table laden with hardbacks and paperbacks alike. Titles in bold lettering fought for my attention, seducing me with their splashy covers. I read a lot like I eat. I am very picky and often will only read nonfiction when I am in the mood. Quickly scanning the selection, a small paperback, caught my attention as I was about to move on. The title, A Mighty Heart, I recognized immediately.
Three weeks ago, my Uncle and I saw The Waitress, in Georgetown. Great film which I intend to comment on at some future time. Before the movie, a preview ran for the movie, A Mighty Heart, based on Mariane Pearl's novel about the abduction and martyrdom of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, Pakistan by Al Qaeda terrorists.
Although I distinctly remember hearing about his abduction and subsequent death, I never investigated the case as closely as I wished. However, I clearly recall, upon seeing his photo, that I found him very attractive and mourned the loss of another good man in this predominately female world. From the photos the various news stations posted of Daniel, he looked like a man who I would want to know better; a culturally sensitive, honest, intellectual, totally at ease with himself and thus at ease with others. Why are men like that so hard to find? His last name suits him perfectly because as a husband and friend he was as a "pearl of great price."
Mariane's story of Danny and his life is beautiful. I started reading yesterday morning and finished it early this afternoon. Like a lover one can not forsake, I kept returning hungry to learn more. Her description of their marriage, their partnership, is something I believe many yearn for but few achieve. Its the hope of having such a perfect union that inspires people get out of bed each day. Mariane describes hope as a muscle. I will take her analogy further and state that the muscle of hope is the heart. Hope is intimately related to faith and charity, attributes Mariane, and so many others involved in Danny's case displayed, during his search and following his murder.
For the past two years I have often pondered love; what it is, how people express it, if it truly exists, how it develops, how it is sustained, and where it is found. One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask a couple how they met. Some may argue its too familiar a topic for strangers to discuss but I disagree. Observation proves most people enjoy talking about themselves and couples often soften when reminscing about the genesis of their love.
As Mariane shares glimpses of her relationship with Daniel the love they had for one another is awe inspiring. A love I have yet to know but pray for daily. The fact they were able to savor such a love, although brief, is truly remarkable.
I hope, if for no other reason, people will read Mariane's book, so they can know love, true love, really does exist. Its possible and worth waiting for and also worth dying for.
Mariane writes:
"Dawn will rise soon over Karachi. Curled in Danny's warm embrace, I feel safe. I like that this position is called "spooning" in English. We are like spoons in a drawer, pressed to each other, each fitted into the other's shape. I love these sweet moments of oblivion and the peace they bring me. No matter where we are...this is my shelter. This is our way of meeting the challenge, of confronting the chaos of the world."
"Danny gets up and finishes dressing. His glasses give him a serious look, and when he works, he always dresses with understated elegance."
"Danny is back before four p.m. for a brief visit. As usual, I run into him arms and bury my face in his neck. I stay there, wanting to get drunk on his smell, wanting to feel some of his sweat. I do not like to be separated from him. Sometimes, after I've gone somewhere, I find him at the door waiting for my return. He takes me in his arms and tells me how much he has missed me. He squeezes me tight with one hand, and with the other, he caresses my face, calling me "My wife, my life...Ocassionally I like to be separated from him for a few days just to savor this feeling we have-painful but delicious-when the one we love is absent...Only when I am back with him do I feel whole."
..."I rolled my office chair next to Danny's desk and asked him which value he considered most essential-in other words, what did he see as his personal religion?...A few minutes later, he rolled his matching chair next to mine. 'Ethics,' he declared with a triumphant air. 'Ethics and truth.'"
Regarding the sex of their child Daniel reacted, "Boy! IT'S A BOY! WHOO HOO!! Rock n Roll!! F-in A, man! We BAD, dude, We F-ing BAD!!! Danny emailed Danny Gill. 'Don't get me wrong, a girl would be great too. But IT's A BOY! HOWOOO! HOWOOO! BOYS RULE!!!'"
Although brief these are a few of the descriptions Mariane shares of Daniel that I love. His sense of humor and boyish charm are evident in her story. His devotion to truth and ethics is evident in his work. His death testifies of his courage and strength.
Like many who expressed their sympathies at the conclusion of the book, I add my own. With those who pray daily for peace, I add my pleas and for those who are on the front lines in the battle against terror you have my regard and gratitude.
This Memorial Day weekend along with the servicemen and women who have sacrificed all in defense of freedom let us not forget other men and women, ordinary civilians, engaged in the extraordinary pursuit of truth and initiating cross-cultural dialogue in the hopes that through understanding we can acheive peace.

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