I feel like sharing some supplemental information with you. Here is an overview of Louie Zamperini and the book "Unbroken."
To the larger point of today's post, I am going to provide context by sharing excerpts from page 166 of the book. This, so you have a better understanding of the paragraph from page 374.
One morning, (between day 35 and 40--the book is not specific) they woke to a strange stillness. The rise and fall of the raft had ceased, and it sat virtually motionless. There was no wind. The ocean stretched out in all directions in glossy smoothness, regarding the sky and reflecting its image in crystalline perfection. Like the ancient mariner, Louie and Phil had found the doldrums, the eerie pause of wind and water that lingers around the equator.
It was an experience of transcendence.
For a while they spoke, sharing their wonder. Then they fell into reverent silence. Their suffering was suspended. They weren't hungry or thirsty. They were unaware of the approach of death.
He remembered the day when he and Phil, slowly dying on the raft, had slid into the doldrums. Above the sky had been a swirl of light; below, the stilled ocean had mirrored the sky, its clarity broken only by a leaping fish. Awed to silence, forgetting his thirst and hunger, forgetting he was dying, Louie had known only GRATITUDE. That day, he had believed that what lay around them was the work of infinitely broad, benevolent hands, a GIFT of compassion. In the years since, that thought had been lost.