praying my way through etty hillesum’s diary

‘i do believe it is possible to create, even without writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. that too is a deed’

‘fight the desire to be thought fascinating by the outside world’

‘if you have given sorrow the space its gentle origins demand, then you can truly say: life is beautiful and so rich. so beautiful and rich it makes you want to believe in god’

“yes, life is beautiful, and i value it anew at the end of every day, even though i know the sons of mothers are being murdered in concentration camps…your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself, part of your body and soul”

‘ sometimes the most important thing we do in a day is the rest we take between 2 deep breaths, or turning inward in prayer for five short minutes.’

“God is in safe hands with us”

“you have made me so rich, oh god, please let me share out of your beauty with my hands. my life has become an uninterrupted dialogue with you, one Great Dialogue. sometimes when i stand in some corner of the camp, with my feet planted on your earth, my eyes raised toward your heaven, tears run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude”

“sometimes i try my hand at turning out small profundities, and uncertain short stories, but i always end up with just one single word: God.”

“all outer appearances are a passing show, as nothing beside the great splendor inside us ”

“there is no causal connection between people’s behaviour and the love you feel for them. Love for one’s fellow man is like an elemental glow that sustains you. The fellow man himself has hardly anything to do with it”

“If I survive this time, I shall emerge a more mature and deeper person, and if I die, I shall die a more mature and deeper person”

“And then time and again it soars from my heart–I can’t help it that’s just the way it is, like some elemental force–the feeling that life is glorious and magnificent”

“the realms of soul and spirit are so spacious and unending that this little bit of suffering really doesn’t matter all that much. I do not feel I have been robbed of my freedom, ESSENTIALLY, no one can do me any harm at all”

“The sky is full of birds, the purple lupins stand up so regally and peacefully, two little old women have sat down on the box for a chat, the sun is shining on my face–and right before our eyes mass murder. The whole thing is simply beyond comprehension”

“my soul is content”

“if we fail to draw new meaning from the deep wells of our distress and despair, then it will not be enough”

“one can pray anywhere, in a wooden barracks or a stone monastary, anywhere on this earth where God, in this troubled time,feels like casting his likeness”

“one can live one’s life with meaning–or else one can die–in any spot on this earth”

“The earth is in me, and the sky. and i well know that something like hell can also be in me, though i no longer experience it in myself, but I can still feel it in others with great intensity. And that is as it should be, lest I grow complacent”

“we should be willing to act as a balm for all wounds”

“everywhere things are both very good and very bad at the same time. the two are in balance everywhere and always every situation, no matter how miserable, is complete in itself”

“oh please, there have to be people like me”

“sometimes, when i least expect it, someon suddenly kneels down in some corner of my being. when i’m out wlaking or just talking to people. and that someone, the one who kneels down, is myself’

“my red and yellow roses are now in full bloom. while i sat there working in that hell, they quietly went on blossoming’

‘the jasmine behind my house has been completely ruined by the storms of the last few days… but somewhere inside me the jasmine continues to blossom, as profusely and delicately as it ever did, and it spreads its scent around the house where You dwell, o God”

“i am with the hungry and the ill-treated and the dying every day, but i am also with the jasmine and that piece of sky beyond my window there is room for everything in a single life’

‘I find life beautiful, and I am free. The sky within me iw as wide as the one stretching above my head. I believe in God and I believe in man. Life is hard but it is no bad thing”

” there will always be a small patch of sky above, and there will always be space enough to fold two hands in prayer’

“i try to look things straight in the face, even the worst crimes, and to discover the small, naked human being amid the monstrous wreckage”

“i draw prayer around me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell, and then step outside again ,calmer and stronger. i can imagine the times to come when i shall stay on my knees for days on end waiting for that wall to be strong enough to prevent my going to pieces altogether, my being lost and utterly devastated”

something in me is growing, and every time i look inside, something fresh has appeared and all i have to do is to accept it, to take it upon myself, to bear it forward, and to let it flourish.’

‘our work can be done anywhere, wherever there is a human being’

‘you pass through the many hours of the day and at the end you are a different person than you were at the beginning’

‘every word born of a necessity–writing must never be anything else’

‘they still do not realize, my God, that apart from you, everything here is quicksand…that just slipped out’

“against every new outrage and every fresh horror, we shall put up one more piece of love and goodness’

‘the few big things that matter in life are what we have to keep in mind… and you can find those big things anywhere’

‘That is how i feel, oh god, always and without ceaswe, as if i were lying in your arms, so protected and sheltered and so steeped in eternity, as if every breath i take were filled with it and as if my smallest acts and words had a deeper source and a deeper meaning’

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: remembering who i am | Emmaatlast's Weblog

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