“Sometimes I long for a convent cell, with the sublime wisdom of centuries set out on bookshelves all along the wall and a view across the cornfields–there must be cornfields and they must wave in the breeze–and there I would immerse myself in the wisdom of the ages and in myself. Then I might perhaps find peace and clarity. But that would be no great feat. It is right here, in this very place, in the here and the now, that I must find them.”
― Etty Hillesum,

“I believe that I know and share the many sorrows and sad circumstances that a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them, I do not prolong such moments of agony. They pass through me, like life itself, as a broad, eternal stream, they become part of that stream, and life continues. And as a result all my strength is preserved, does not become tagged onto futile sorrow or rebelliousness.”
― Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork

Etty Hillesum wrote in her diary: Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on earth, my eyes raised towards heaven, tears run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude. Does this sound like a passage from a young girl’s summer camp diary? Well, the camp she speaks of is a Nazi death camp. What Etty Hillesum stands for is gratefulness against all the odds. This makes her shine as an example for all of us, a witness to sheer enthusiasm for life. — Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

“Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning.”
― Etty Hillesum, 

4 thoughts on “In the Here and the Now

      1. Apologies for the delay in replying, Ashley. I haven’t been online much over the past few days. Daughter visited for Mother’s Day. 😀

        Reading Etty’s words and all the books that have been written about her is inspirational. At times, when we may start to lose hope in Humanity, people such as her remind us that there is always hope and that Humanity is intrinsically good.


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