Testament to Youth is a film that is based on the book of the same name which was published in 1933. It is a memoir of the world war one written through the eyes of a young woman. In the film the audience is introduced to an intelligent, eager and strong woman named Vera Brittain. She wants more than anything to attend Oxford with her younger brother Edward and his friends. It is her greatest wish to obtain a degree in a time when it was still frowned upon for women to attend a university since many still felt a woman's place was in the home. She also vows that she will never marry but that soon changes when she meets Roland Leighton.
As their love blossoms, they are excited to be attending Oxford together in the fall since Vera was accepted but those dreams are dashed by the beginning of World War One. Roland, along with her brother Edward and a few others from their social circle chose to enlist. Vera struggles with their departure but chooses to bury herself in voluntary nurse work instead of books by placing her education on hold.
Roland and Vera continue to correspond as he edges ever closer to the front lines of battle. Managing to come home for a short leave, Roland and Vera decide they will be married on his very next furlough. Thirty minutes before their Christmas wedding Vera is informed that Roland didn't make it home; the message was delayed in getting to her.
Sadly, Roland was only the first to fall. Vera's friend Victor would be the next followed by a mutual friend of her and her brother, a Geoffrey Thurlow. And near the end of the war her dear brother Edward would also fall. Prior to the death of her brother, Vera chose to volunteer as a nurse in France where she was put to work in a hut filled with German soldiers that were severely wounded. It is evident that she disliked what she did until she heard the words of a dying German. Vera had been taught the German language in her earlier days of education enabling her to understand what the poor solider was desperately crying out for....forgiveness. It was in that moment that she reached out and spent the last few minutes of this man's life easing his hurt and calming his fear.
At the end of the war when feelings of hatred and anger were running hot toward a defeated Germany Vera bravely stood up and publicly shared that moment when she realized that the enemy was also human. It was then that she decided to share her experiences with the world.
After trying several different approaches she finally realized that the best and only way to tell it was straight from the heart with no fictionalized names or places. It was in this way that she made the greatest impact on her world, one that is still felt today.
Her story still moves people and I promise, you will be moved if you chose to watch the film. Your heart will ache as you watch her lose so many that were close to her and see her grieve to her core. But if you are like me you, you will also be inspired as Vera summons the necessary courage to share her testament that there is a purpose in all things even when we can't see them.
This is what moved and inspired me most about the film. It left me thinking that all of us have something to share with the world. Perhaps it is not as dramatic as losing so many loved ones but we each have struggles and sorrows which have weighed us down yet we have overcome them with God's strength. We all have faced those dark days when nothing makes sense until God shines His light into our soul showing us His plan. Of course there are times when He chooses not to reveal all but rather asks us to trust Him instead, and believe that He is always good.
Vera's story reminded me of that truth, that God will take everything, the good and the bad, and use it for His glory. He allows us to go through certain trials so that we can become stronger and are able to help others by showing them that they can also overcome. But I wonder how often we chose not to share our story.
Writing her memoir proved difficult for Vera, it meant reliving many memories that she wanted to forget, hurts she wanted to push away and people when recalled brought about a fresh ache in her heart. Yet she summoned the courage needed to tell her experiences, both good and the bad, and the world is better for it in so many respects. It is worth mentioning that she did end up marrying and had a family of her own.
The world needs to hear your story too. God has a purpose for your life, one that no one else can fulfill. Maybe it includes sharing some of your past hurts so others know that they are not alone, that there is hope for tomorrow, a hope found in Jesus Christ alone. Will you join me in choosing to share your story with a world filled with despair, discouragement and darkness?
I am just an ordinary girl who is loved by an extraordinary God and I seek to love others the same way. I love to bake, read, do puzzles, watch Hallmark movies, and go shopping with my mom! This blog was created as a place where I could share some thoughts that the Lord has shown me and to be an encouragement to others who desire to know Him in a deeper way. My prayer is to learn to sit still and trust God with my future.
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