Dan Maurer, my Minnesota writing friend (we met way back when we were both writing fiction), wrote his fourth book. Four. Books. And this one is my favorite yet. Dan has a gift for taking hard stories and highlighting the hopeful aspects of them, something we all so desperately need. From a graphic novel on addiction recovery to a nonfiction book of a young boy who was trafficked in the US, his work is always about transformation.
Endure, Dan’s latest book, explores how spiritual assets contribute to resiliency. He tells the stories of several people who endured intense trauma (domestic abuse, war, refugee life) and weaves his own story of recovery into the book. The people he highlights are incredibly vulnerable and brave in sharing their stories, I am amazed at how much empathy Dan showed in listening to, probing into, and sharing them.
The book has moments of horror, surprise, grief, and tenderness. And while I appreciated the stories people shared, as a wanna-be psychologist who loves learning about what makes human beings behave certain ways, my favorite parts of the book were when Dan examined specific spiritual assets and how they helped people overcome their personal traumas.
Hope, love, forgiveness, honesty, these are some of the assets the book highlights. Dan describes spiritual assets like this:
…spiritual assets become the transforming spark that undergirds a resilient response in many life situations, even yours.
Heavy on anecdote, but with research and Dan’s theological training as a Lutheran pastor sprinkled throughout, Endure is a book that is a pleasure read and that offers practical tools for a resilient response to trauma.
Endure would be a great book club pick or community read. Read a chapter and then discuss as a group how you have experienced the highlighted spiritual asset in your own life or how you could develop it in the future.
I don’t believe our world is any more broken now than it was in the past, but I do think we hear about pain and suffering much more. What we also need to hear about is hope, strength, character, and beauty. This is a book full of these kinds of stories. And, it is a book that can help readers live those kinds of stories.
Dan has written several times for Djibouti Jones:
A Little Piece of Fiction (bonus: a photo of Dan playing the bagpipes in my Minneapolis backyard when we lived there in 2012!)