I acquired The Alchemist by Paul Coelho at the Mountain Green Book Group book exchange in November. My neighbor told me she had read it many times and was one of her favorites. I asked her if it was sad or depressing, because heaven knows I don't need anything else to put me in a somber mood these days. She assured me the book would lift my spirits.
I've been reading many years, and until now I've never found a book that after I finished it, I wanted to immediately start over on page one. The Alchemist was incredibly inspiring...a wondeful metaphor for life.
This is a story of a young shepherd named Santiago who chooses to leave a simple, comfortable life in search of treasure. Along the journey, he encounters various people who guide him, deceive him, teach him, protect him, and love him.
A watered-down definition of an "alchemist" is a person who can turn ordinary base metals into gold through an intense refining process. So it is with the young man Santiago. In his treasure-seeking expedition he opens his mind, heart and soul to the experiences along the way.
As Santiago overcomes obstacles, disappointments and pain, he comes to know his personal calling as a human being on this earth. His journey allows him to become a stronger, more wise individual. Along the way he achieves greater satisfaction, gains deeper knowledge and experiences more meaningful love.
One of the things that I truly appreciated about Santiago is he takes time to meditate and reflect on his experiences. Rather than wallow in self-pity and bitterness, he turns trials into opportunities for growth and achievement.
I needed this wonderful story to remind me right now that life is a journey with a purpose. In our journey, we experience both joy and sorrow. And while we seek for those people and experiences that make bring us happiness, it is often the difficulties allowing us to learn the most about our own personal calling.