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Book Review

What the Book “A Walk to Remember” Taught Me About Falling in Love With God

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A Book Review: Timeless Christian Lessons From the Classic Romance Novel by Nicholas Sparks

For years, I was content that I have watched the film based on Nicholas Sparks’s novel “A Walk to Remember”. It wasn’t until I found a social media post asking about books that made readers cry that I regained interest in reading it.

What’s different about the book?

Would I really cry? These were just some of the questions I had when I decided to purchase the classic romantic novel.

Set in 1958, the story about Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan takes on a different period but not a contradicting theme. In fact, I think the book and the movie complement each other. Watching the film and reading the book provides people an experience that helps them gain a deeper and richer grasp of the story.

Told through the point of view of Landon, the book allows the reader to see things from his perspective. The reader sees what he sees, and I think this works most especially in the way he sees Jamie.

I love how the book is able to follow Landon’s change of heart as regards Jamie.

From being a distant and strange outcast his classmates take no notice of, Landon is able to know the person that Jamie truly is. In seeing this person, he comes full circle from being blind to being able to see everything that’s beautiful about this special girl. Isn’t love like that? One minute you’re blind and the next moment, it’s as though a whole new world has been opened before your very eyes and you could no longer take your heart away.

It’s not as though there was that one life-changing and grand moment when Landon instantly fell in love with Jamie. No, it’s not at all like that. What’s wonderful about the book is that it takes us with Landon and Jamie as they spend these seemingly ordinary moments that slowly yet effectively give the two the opportunity to realize their love for one another.

Image by chulmin park from Pixabay

It’s that wonderful quality about love that kind of grows on you until it takes root within you, allowing you to fall ever deeper until you could no longer ignore it or turn away from it. 

You don’t fall in love at once, you fall slowly and then finally, and in that final moment, you realize how it’s always been there for you. In the end, while you were looking for love, were you not actually running away from it? Falling in love is finally letting love find you.

I think this is very similar to the way many of us fall in love with God.

At first, we may ignore Him or even consider His presence weird. We may not even want the world to see that we’re associated with Him for fear that our friends would avoid us.

But then these moments come when God is finally able to spend some time with us. We may feel guilty, we can be in denial, but the more we spend time with Him, the more we realize how wrong we were about Him. Finally, we admit how we love Him and we realize how He’s been there with us all along.

Going back to the book, another thing I liked about it was the way it showed how living your faith in a secular world can be a real challenge.

It was like that for Jamie. She was just trying to be nice, to be a good person. But the people around her considered her strange and unusual, a target for jokes and insults.

Maybe that’s just the way we tend to react to people who are not like us. Instead of trying to understand them, we just shrug them off and consider them as outcasts. This book can speak a lot about bullying and judging those who seem different from you.

The book was set during the 1950s and the movie during the 1990s. I wonder how the film would look like if it were remade today? How much more difficult would it be to live your faith as a simple teenager during our time? It’s not just about the temptations that abound these days. It’s that prejudice of being strange or self-righteous, of not being able to blend in and have friends at the time when you need them most.

Despite the challenges, however, I love how this book was able to depict the way Jamie Sullivan lived her life.

She simply did what she believed, bearing the judgments of other people, not giving in to resentment, staying as cheerful and as helpful as she was and trying to live a full life of love no matter her illness and difficulties.

It was Landon himself who said that Jamie was the true essence of the following Bible passage that described love:

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.”

How different indeed from the way we often describe love these days.

Today, love seems to be taken as the mere existence of “feelings” for a special person, a romantic kind of love. When that feeling wavers, love also disappears. But that is never the true essence of love.

Image by kgorz from Pixabay

How would it be like to meet a person who actually embodies the essence of love?

Maybe like Landon, we’d also feel guilty. We may react by just ignoring it or going away. But then again, we may finally see someone who can inspire us to be a better version of ourselves. We may see that it is still possible to be gentle and patient and to endure the many sacrifices needed so we can truly love.

This book has so many lessons to impart, and one of the things I shouldn’t forget to mention is the importance of life and the time given to us.

Quite often, we live as though we wouldn’t ever die or as though we’re certain we still have much time left. But what if we don’t? What if we only had a short time left just like Jamie? How would that make a difference in the way we live our lives?

The truth is that we don’t know how much time we have left.

And because of that, we should make the most of the time we still have. At the end of it all, what matters is that we have lived a life of meaning, a life where we have loved to the very end.

There is something about this book that makes an unforgettable impression upon me.

Perhaps it’s the message. Perhaps it’s in its simplicity. Or perhaps it’s about the characters that seemed so real you could almost touch them.

Nicholas Sparks said that out of all his novels, A Walk to Remember was his favorite one to write, the one that made him cry while writing it. This was also the one inspired by his younger sister, who, like Jamie Sullivan, was an inspiration to those around her despite her illness. She, too, had cancer, and she died in June 2000.

To us, however, who have loved Jamie and her story, she continues to live, kindling faith, hope and love within our hearts.

Before ending this review, you may be wondering if I cried while reading this novel.

And my answer would be, “No, I didn’t cry.” But that wouldn’t make this book any less valuable or worth reading.

It is not always the book that makes you shed your tears that’s worth it. You know it’s beautiful, too, if it could wipe your tears away.

Buy the book on Amazon

(Note: I will receive an affiliate commission from Amazon for every purchase of the said book through this post.)

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Prayers

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.

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Prayers

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel


“Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”

Categories
Bible

Bible Verse – John 3

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1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born anew, * he can’t see God’s Kingdom.”
4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and Spirit, he can’t enter into God’s Kingdom. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Don’t marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ 8 The wind† blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don’t know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and don’t understand these things? 11 Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know and testify of that which we have seen, and you don’t receive our witness. 12 If I told you earthly things and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only born‡ Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only born Son of God. 19 This is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”
22 After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them and baptised. 23 John also was baptising in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came and were baptised; 24 for John was not yet thrown into prison. 25 Therefore a dispute arose on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, he baptises, and everyone is coming to him.”
27 John answered, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore my joy is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 “He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. 33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys§ the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

-John 3, WEBBE

Categories
Christian Classic Books

Revelations of Divine Love – Chapter 2


A simple creature unlettered.—Which creature afore desired three gifts of God”

THESE Revelations were shewed to a simple creature unlettered,[1] the year of our Lord 1373, the Thirteenth day of May. Which creature [had] afore desired three gifts of God. The First was mind of His Passion; the Second was bodily sickness in youth, at thirty years of age; the Third was to have of God’s gift three wounds.

As to the First, methought I had some feeling in the Passion of Christ, but yet I desired more by the grace of God. Methought I would have been that time with Mary Magdalene, and with other that were Christ’s lovers, and therefore I desired a bodily sight wherein I might have more knowledge of the bodily pains of our Saviour and of the compassion of our Lady and of all His true lovers that saw, that time. His pains. For I would be one of them and suffer with Him. Other sight nor shewing of God desired I never none, till the soul were disparted from the body. The cause of this petition was that after the shewing I should have the more true mind in the Passion of Christ.

The Second came to my mind with contrition; [I] freely desiring that sickness [to be] so hard as to death, that I might in that sickness receive all my rites of Holy Church, myself thinking that I should die, and that all creatures might suppose the same that saw me: for I would have no manner of comfort of earthly life. In this sickness desired to have all manner of pains bodily and ghostly that I should have if I should
die, (with all the dreads and tempests of the fiends) except the outpassing of the soul. And this I meant[2] for [that] I would be purged, by the mercy of God, and afterward live more to the worship of God because of that sickness. And that for the more furthering[3] in my death: for I desired to be soon with my God.

These two desires of the Passion and the sickness I desired with a condition, saying thus: Lord, Thou knowest what I would,—if it be Thy will that I have it—; and if it be not Thy will, good Lord, be not displeased: for I will nought but as Thou wilt.

For the Third [petition], by the grace of God and teaching of Holy Church I conceived a mighty desire to receive three wounds in my life: that is to say, the wound of very contrition, the wound of kind[4] compassion, and the wound of steadfast[5] longing toward God.[6] And all this last petition I asked without any condition.

These two desires aforesaid passed from my mind, but the third dwelled with me continually.