Friday, April 26, 2013

Todd Gothberg: Lessons from Louie

Last week I mentioned my friend Todd Gothberg in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. This week he posted about his experience on his blog BELIEVE. Check it out:

I've been through a lot in my life. And then I went through this year's Boston Marathon. While I finished an hour before the blasts which tragically rocked a city, a nation, and a world, I found myself experiencing a range of emotions from the point I learned of the attacks until the second suspect was captured four days later. Shock. Sadness. Despair. Anger. Regret. Guilt. Relief. Peace. And while I was not physically impacted, I way underestimated the emotional toll Boston would take on me. Depression had parked itself in my soul. I know this is hard to believe, but I even found myself not wanting to run - the one "escape" I had gone to over the years to cope, my "therapy" became a reminder of what had gone terribly wrong just a few days earlier. Instead of basking in the glow of my 15th Boston finish, I was struggling to find purpose, passion and reason to move forward with life as I once knew it. 
And then, as I added a few new books to my work library, I came across Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken" which I had read two years earlier and recalled meeting the man about whom the book was written. I met Louie Zamperini at Rev. Billy Graham's home in Montreat, NC; the book chronicals his incredible story of perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds and the brutally sadistic treatment by his Japanese captors during WW II. He told me that day that the key to survival and not being "broken" by his circumstances was the hope he held on to which displaced any fear, the dignity he maintained which kept his soul alive, and the conviction in his heart that everything happened for a reason - that in the end, it would all eventually come to good. Out of despair, out of tragedy, out of evil, out of hatred, eventually these things prevail: Hope. DignityConviction. and Love. Louie had reminded me that day that just as with the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, my experience did not end that Monday with the death and despair at the finish line. The story was not complete. And while I couldn't change what had happened or what I had been through, I could change my outlook and my perspective moving forward. I could once again be the light that people were seeking in a dark world. I needed to be the light that people were seeking in a dark world. I needed to simply trust, and to Believe that death once again did not and would not have the final say.    
"I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world" - John 16:33

This is Claude again: I highly, highly recommend the book Unbroken that Todd mentions. Not only is it a thrilling page-turner--it's one of the most inspiring stories you'll ever read. 


  1. LOVE IT! Thanks brother Claude :)

  2. Todd's insight, guidance, and experience comes from a depth few could imagine. I have read "No Reservations", and "Unbroken", and can attest to their power. Examples such as these, in addition to his past love have enabled me to survive in the most inhumane environments- both here and abroad. As with Louie, future emotional survival has a few common denomimators- love, forgiveness, and a spirituality (whatever it may be). Knowing Todd in the past inevitabally enhanced my survivability. Convict-tion.