Sunday, November 05, 2006

Responding with love, not hate

Etty Hillesum

I went through a period in my life in which I collected concentration camp stories. I was trying to tap into what makes a person courageous in the extremes of life. Lately, I've come to think that it's time to review those stories now that Bush is able to hold us without trial. Here's something from Etty Hillesum whom I've admired for a long time and who died at Auschwitz:

By suffering I learn. I learn to accept that we have to share our love with the whole of creation, with the entire kosmos. But this love also gives us access to the kosmos ourselves. But the admission ticket is costly and hard to get. Only with blood and tears can one save enough to afford one.

It takes great courage to move from suffering to love rather than to hatred. We have much to learn from Hillesum.

Here's something else she said:

Even if there is only one decent German, they would deserve to be protected from the barbarian rabble and for that one German's sake one should not pour out one's hatred for the entire people.

You might like to investigate her diary: An Interrupted Life

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:29 AM

    An Interrupted Life and Letters from Westerbork are two of my favorite spiritual autobiographies and very timely. The image of her throwing a postcard off the train taking her to her death that said "We left the camp singing" is an amazing inspiration. Thank you for reminding me of her courageous, determinedly love-centered life. Sally Lloyd


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