Elizabeth Smart and Malala Yousafzai.
On the surface, these two girls could not be more different.
One was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the other in the Swat Valley in Pakistan.
One is blond, the other brunette. One is Mormon, the other Muslim.
What they have in common is that both experienced something horrible and shocking as teen-agers, and they both survived. More importantly, they have each shown an amazing spirit of hope, grace, courage, and unfailing optimism. I admire both of them and I think each of their memoirs are worth reading. Here are a couple of my favorite excerpts from their books:
My Story by Elizabeth Smart:
"When faced with pain and evil, we have to make a choice. We can choose to be taken by the evil. Or we can try to embrace the good. ... Life is a journey for us all. We all face trials. We all have ups and downs. All of us are human. But we are also the masters of our fate. We are the ones who decide how we are going to react to life."
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai:
"I thank Allah for the hardworking doctors, for my recovery and for sending us to this world where we may struggle for our survival. Some people choose good ways and some choose bad ways. One person's bullet hit me. It swelled my brain, stole my hearing and cut the nerve of my left face in the space of a second. And after that one second there were millions of people praying for my life ... I know God stopped me from going to the grave. It feels like this life is a second life. People prayed to God to spare me, and I was spared for a reason--to use my life for helping people."