One of the cardinal philosophies by which I try to live my life is the idea that you'll never get anywhere or achieve anything worthwhile in life if you don't set goals for yourself.
I try to begin each year by setting at least a few goals for myself and then work to achieve them throughout the seasons. I also sometimes set other goals as I go along. I mean, we all know that life doesn't always go the way we planned, right? That's one of the things I like about life in general and life as a Christian, in particular. God doesn't let us get bored! Sometimes He makes it very clear to us that there are things we need to work on or things we need to accomplish.
I must admit that I don't always like those goals, nor do I always find the striving towards them to be a pleasant experience. Nevertheless, I know that I can trust Him that they are good and necessary goals.
There are other times when I set goals for myself and trust that the Lord will let me know if it's ok to proceed with them or if I need to redirect.
Okaaay, you say, "So what are these goals of yours for 2009?" Well, some of them are pretty personal and things I don't need to share, but some are fair game.
One of my goals for 2009 is to read at least 120 books. They can be of any genre and my "To be Read" list continues to grow (I think the last total is 132), but I am making progress.
Book number 37 for the year was an excellent one titled "The Cellist of Sarajevo," by Steven Galloway. I would highly recommend this to anyone who has any interest in world history, current events, international politics or any other related topic. Galloway has written an outstanding historical fiction account based on events during the siege of Sarajevo in 1991-92.
This book made me want to read more about Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war and all of the various people groups involved. I feel like it gave me a small glimpse into the lives of several individuals living under those horrible conditions and the sacrifices they made.
I was saddened to learn this morning that Vedran Smailovic, the Sarajevan cellist whose actions were part of the inspiration for the novel, is apparently very angry about the book. From what I read on TimesOnline, I'm not certain whether he's angry because of the attention that the book is getting and bringing to him in his quiet home/life in Ireland, because Galloway didn't seek him out and consult him before writing the book or because the author hasn't offered him a share in the royalties.
Galloway has responded that, while Smailovic and his actions were obviously the inspiration for the character of the cellist (who has no name in the book), the story of his actions was common knowledge arround the world. He also says that he merely used the story that he had heard as a starting inspiration and that he also interviewed more than 25 other people and utilized a wide variety of resources in his research for the book.
While I can understand that the seige, the war and the trials that Mr. Smailovic experienced must have been very painful and that it would be very unpleasant to be reminded of them, I have to say that I think Mr. Galloway's book is doing a good job of waking some people up and educating them about those same experiences. Does it really convey the horror and turmoil of that time? No. No words on a page can ever accurately describe man's inhumanity to man or the horror of many things that we experience. What those words can do, however, is awaken more of us from our apathy and make us aware that things like that have happened and are happening and, hopefully, inspire us to take action to keep them from happening in the future.
TimesOnline story: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article4083037.ece