It was during our regular monthly Book Club meeting last month in September, when I was introduced to this motivational book. Finding my Voice was written by Emily Lim who at a young age of 28 when she was at the top of her career working in the hospitality industry and newly married, woke up one morning without her voice. Up till I came across this book, I was not aware that there is a serious condition called Spasmodic Dysphonia (SD). SD is a serious and rare voice disorder where people find it difficult to speak and it is rather difficult for others to understand them. This book she wrote is a personal account of the lowest point in Emily's life and the challenges she faced at work and in her married life. A small paperback with just over 100 pages, you can finish it reading in a few days.
It was in page 64 of this book I came across a beautiful heartwarming story.
An old Chinese lady approached a Jewish rabbi in grief and asked him for prayers and magical incantations to bring her only son who had died, back to life. The rabbi looked at her and told her to bring a mustard seed from a home that has never had failures or sorrows. He told her that he will then use it to drive the sorrow out of her life. So, the old woman set off in search of this magical mustard seed.
She goes first to splendid mansion and says that she is looking for a home that has never known sorrow. They told her that she has come to the wrong place and describes all the tragic events that has recently befallen them. She stayed to comfort them and again went in search of another house which had never seen sorrow. But wherever she went, she came across tale after tales of sadness, misfortune and grief. Eventually, she became so involved in the people's lives in comforting them that she forgot about her quest for that magical mustard seed, never realising that her sorrow had been driven out of her life.
I don't know why but I love this story. It is a story that resonates with everyone. It reveals that everyone is battling something in their lives. Everyone is going through some form of misfortune - not so prefect exam results, debilitating disease, loss of a beloved member of their lives. As a friend, its how we are there to comfort them, to be kind to them which makes a difference in helping them overcome these challenges.
So, if you are reading this, a word of advice. Be kind to everyone. Don't let the exterior facade you see decide your judgement of that person. You don't know what they are facing inside.
I read the rest of the book and it finishes off how she saw signs that showed her a path less travelled. She became a Children's book author and her books The Prince Bear and the Pauper Bear resonates well with her own emotional struggles after losing her voice. She goes on to write more books and wins awards as well. A simple moving account of one woman's struggle to make peace with God.
Finding My Voice is not available at the usual bookstores in SG. However, I found it eventually in Kinokuniya at Takashimaya Shopping Centre retailing at around $20. I would highly recommend this book.