Thursday, July 5, 2018

I'll Push You - Book Review

Every once in a while, if we are fortunate, we are given a glimpse into a relationship of such incredible beauty that we are instantly inspired to be more, to do more, and to love more than we ever have before.  To read I'll Push You, is to witness the ultimate expression of brotherly love and devotion.  It is the opportunity to enter into a pilgrimage of the heart.

There are volumes of travelogues written by those who have embarked on such ancient walks as the Camino de Santiago.  The thing that sets this story apart, along with Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray's extremely rare lifelong friendship, is the fact that this trek was supposed to be impossible for them to accomplish.  Few believed they could actually pull it off.  Of course, those naysayers did not comprehend the enormous overcoming power of Justin and Patrick's friendship, of their faith, and of their spirits.

Born just 36 hours apart, Skeez and Paddy, as they affectionately called one another, never really knew life apart from one another.  They were classmates throughout their schooling, were best man in each other's wedding, and only became closer when Justin was diagnosed with a debilitating neuromuscular condition similar to ALS.  When Justin lost his capacity to walk, and to use his arms and legs, Patrick did not hesitate to step in to help Justin's wife care for his every need.

Not one to wave a white flag and give up in defeat, though he would have been justified in feeling more than a little bit of hopelessness, Justin sought to find ways to continue to live life with gusto.  When he learned about the Camino in Spain (The Way), Skeez asked Paddy if they might attempt it. Without losing a beat, Patrick replied: I'll push you.  At the time, neither Justin nor Patrick knew just exactly what it was they had agreed to do.  All too soon, they would begin the most arduous journey of their lives.

How do you cross the Pyrenees, and other mountain ranges, make it through the Mesita desert, and ford through raging rivers in a wheelchair?  What do you do when the pathway becomes a steep, boulder-strewn bowling alley, or an impassable quagmire of deep mud?  These became the daily challenges that had stopped even the most robust pilgrims along the way.  With the help and kindness of strangers, Justin and Patrick are drawn into the pilgrimage within the pilgrimage.  What began as a travel adventure, becomes a deeply transformational journey of self-reflection.

Over the course of 500 miles, Skeez and Paddy explore what it means to love, to serve, to trust, and to grow in grace.  To take the journey with them is a blessing, a privilege, and the chance to ponder how we might be the love that turns the impossible into the possible.









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14 comments:

  1. What a beautiful review of a book about true deep friendship that makes even the impossible happen. This is definitely going on my reading list, Diana.

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    1. I hope this book touches your heart, Elf, as it has touched mine.

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  2. This sounds like such a wonderful, encouraging and uplifting story! I'm sure having a long-term friendship and established camaraderie before Justin become unable to walk made all the difference in the world. Because of my own faith, I would go so far as to say God knew and provided in advance who and what Justin needed, not just for this amazing trek, but for life. I have no doubt they have some fabulous shared experiences that anyone would treasure.

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    1. I can see God's hand in it for sure, Mouse. Their experiences together on The Way led them to quit their former jobs and to begin new work together to change the lives of others.

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  3. Wonderful review. This is now on my to read list

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    1. I believe this book will speak to you, Mary Beth. I will look forward to hearing your thoughts after you have a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. What a fabulous review! I'm afraid many books are ahead of this one on my reading list, but I will be adding it. So many fabulous books! So little time. I sense this isn't a book I'm ready for yet. I'm afraid if I read it where I am now in life it won't mean as much as if I wait for a bit. Even the best books need to be read at the right time to have the most impact.

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    1. Yes, indeed... books find us when we are ready. I believe that. You will know when the time is right. Until then, savor each of the other books on your list.

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  5. Oh I do love such heart warming stories. They give you more than just he words on the page, rather they give you and insight into the human spirit and of what love really is. Thank you for this wonderful review, it is now on my list of books I need to read!

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    1. I thought this one might appeal to you, Olivia. It's the best kind of story. Fills the soul. I wondered if your travels had taken you to the Camino (The Way of St. James).

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  6. This book really does sound like a powerful inspirational read. Great review.

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    1. Thank you! The book is a beautiful tribute to what friendship is meant to be. You don't often get to read about two guys who love one another so purely.

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  7. Your review brought a tear to my eyes. So moving. Without your review, of course I'd never would have heard of it. It sounds like a book that would also make an excellent movie.

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    1. It always means a lot to me when someone feels moved by one of my reviews. Thank you for telling me so. Coming from you, it means even more. They did take a documentary crew along with them on the journey at the urging of Patrick's boss. I've not seen the film yet, but I do plan to watch it.

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