“There is a really deep well inside me. And in it dwells God.
Sometimes I am there, too . . . And that is all we can manage
these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard
that little piece of You, God, in ourselves.”
The above words were written by Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who lived during the Nazi invasion of Holland in the 1940’s. Those were dark and uncertain times, full of much fear and suffering. Etty herself experienced that suffering first hand in a place called Westerbork, a “holding camp” where she wrote these words before finally being deported to a concentration camp where she died. It is amazing to read her diaries and see how she managed to keep her faith and trust in God and in the goodness of humanity.
I can’t help but make comparisons between her time and ours. Even though the suffering endured by millions of people was much more than we can imagine, our world today is dark and uncertain too. Everywhere we turn there is sickness and death, fear and division, unrest and injustice. It seems like the whole world has lost its way.
That leaves me with the question – How do I/we safeguard that little piece of God within us? Here are some suggestions that I am trying to put into practice as I struggle to find peace, calm, truth and beauty amid the global pandemic and all the other frightening things going on around us.
- Limit intake of the news, talk shows and opinions of the “experts”, whether that be TV, apps on the phone, Facebook, etc. Listen instead to music, uplifting podcasts, unbiased news reporting.
- Get outside every day in nature. Go for a walk if you can or simply sit outdoors with your feet grounded in the earth.
- Look for beauty every day and add some beauty of your own to the world.
- Spend 20 minutes each day in silence, letting go of all fears, worries, concerns and negativity and rest in the Holy Presence.
- Stay away from those people who are toxic with their negativity, anger, strong opinions, control, etc. and instead connect with those who nurture you, feed your soul and leave you feeling better and hopeful.
No doubt, there are countless other things we can do to help ourselves and others get through these dark and challenging times. We can be light for one another. We must be light for one another. The famous Eastern poet Rumi penned these words over 800 years ago but they are also relevant today: “But it is still dark: if our hearts do not hold a lantern, we will stumble over each other, huddled beneath the sky as we are.”
– Sallie Bachar