Every once in awhile I read a book that touches me in a very deep and profound way. I can finish reading the book and put it down, but yet it never leaves me. Such was the case when I recently read the book "In the Sanctuary of Outcast" by author Neil White.
It is his memoir of a year spent in a minimal security federal prison in Carville, Louisiana. Imagine his surprise, if you will, after arriving there and finding out that it is not only a prison for white collar crime inmates, but it is also a leprosarium for leprosy patients (now preferably called Hansen's Disease).
You see, Carville, has operated as a leprosarium from 1894-1999. It was the only leprosy colony in the continental US. For a brief few years, 1991-1994, it also housed federal inmates as well. Enter Neil White.
White details his eighteen month stay at Carville. He befriends many of the patients there and is moved by their stories. "Finally, in a sanctuary for outcasts, I understood the truth. Surrounded by men and women who could not hide their disfigurement, I could see my own," he writes.
It's a funny thing about myself. I've always been drawn to outcasts. The unwanted, the unloved, flawed, hurting, souls of humanity. I don't mean that to sound lofty or noble, because there have been times when this inclination has brought me some measure of grief or regret, but I shall not digress.
I knew I would have to go. I didn't know when, or how or with who, or really why for that matter, but I knew I would have to make the journey.
A journey to Carville...
"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles" Psalms 34:6
How about you? Have you read any books lately that you just could not get over?
Of course it should go without saying the Bible is always number one on this list.