I was sent a copy of a new book by Susie Scott Krabacher called, Angels of a Lower Flight. I’ve been reading it over the last couple weeks. It’s the story of a life that has been transformed by suffering. That life, the author’s, has then been lived for the sake of others who suffer to bring love where there’s been hate, peace where there’s been madness and joy where there’s been only sadness. It’s a story about what God can do with a single life surrendered to loving a neighbour. In this story “the neighbours” are the children of Haiti. The life is the life of a woman about my age who has been an ‘old soul’ since she was about 4 years old.
The story is well told and brutally honest. Susie Scott Krabacher was taking her clothes off for Playboy in 1983 but it’s in this book that she’s truly naked as she tells her own story that doesn’t make excuses or lay blame. But the story isn’t a ‘I was a centerfold’ sort of story, it’s much bigger than that. It’s the story of perseverance, miracles, heart break, perseverance, love, disappointment, perseverance, joy, second chances, and more perseverance.
The story she tells starts with a vivid scene in contemporary Haiti. It was difficult to read the first chapter. I had to start and stop a few times. It’s a gripping tale but sometimes it’s your heart that’s gripped, sometimes your head and sometimes it’s your stomach as she details the world of Haiti’s children that a word like ‘poverty’ doesn’t even begin to describe. As heavy as the book is, there are some laughs, signs of hope and an inspiring determination to change the world for the little children of Haiti.
My Confession: No, it’s not that I recognized her from Playboy. (Maybe ’80 but not ’83). My confession is that I’m very biased when it comes to a story like this. Her description of the children of Haiti and what they go through in what, for some, are very brief lives, breaks my heart. I’ve been a little further down the same chain of Islands and been to an orphanage in Tobago (which doesn’t even compare to the horrors of Haiti) but I’ve been heart broken over little ones who have been discarded like they were garbage. I’ll also confess that I’m biased towards the author’s perspective that she never articulates but flows through the book, “he who has been forgiven much will forgive much.” Some of my fellow Jesus followers will be uncomfortable with chunks of the book that doesn’t give a nice little moral or warning or correction or qualification of some kind. She’s a toy from the Island of Misfit Toys, like me, and she’s putting her energy into bringing love to all the Misfits, one by one and not writing a morality tale. It struck me, several times, that some of my fellow Jesus followers would be far more disturbed about the people she calls friends than by the conditions she describes that the orphans of Haiti are living in. And that’s just messed up.
For all the darkness in Susie’s story, you’ll find an unstoppable light that keeps breaking out.
My warning. This will probably make you want to go to Haiti like it has me or make you seriously re-evaluate your life, again, like it has me. Not that she asks you to do either in the book, it’ll just happen.
Why you should buy this book. The money all goes to the work of the “Mercy and Sharing” foundation that she leads. Even if it didn’t, it’s a powerful book.
Why you should read this book. It’s made me a better me and I’m pretty sure her story will do the same for anyone who reads it.