Granted no one enjoys a life of trial and tribulation, but it seems the most successful in life have a period of trial and tribulation. I have heard it said that Milton S Hershey failed multiple times before gaining success as a chocolatier. Politicians who overcome an obstacle in life are an inspiration to me. I think of the former Mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, who waved the flag in the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, being quadriplegic. Athletes who compete under great stress and family tragedy make us marvel. I’m thinking in particular of Joannie Rochette, who competed in the Vancouver Olympics the same week following her mother’s untimely death. Authors who write well in the face of imprisonment put me to shame. I’m thinking of the great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn or even the Czech playwright Vaclav Havel.

I’m writing this post as part of the Your Secret Name read-a-long hosted by Marla Taviano. This week the chapters were 10 and 11 from the book Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner. The book is a semi-autobiographical study of the biblical character of Jacob and his search for purpose and meaning.

Jacob the deceiver steals his brother’s birthright. He is deceived by his father-in-law. He fights with the angel of God, no wait, I’m getting ahead of the story. After leaving his father-in-law, he travels back to his home, worried Esau his brother is still out to get him, 20 years later. Kary parallels his own story to Jacob. He talks about his life as an own book. He is honest with his struggles to find meaning and value in life.

I truly appreciate the story Kary weaves, only after finishing the book early. I was frustrated that I couldn’t see where Kary was going with telling his story and how it related to Jacob. It was a problem knowing the end of Jacob’s story and not knowing Kary’s. But I think Kary is to be commended for writing his story and relating it to Jacob’s. And I certainly can recommend Your Secret Name as necessary reading. If Jacob can make it, if Kary can make it and continue to make it, then I can make it. You can too.