pondering etty… again

etty speaks the words of the deepest knowing of the soul–that life is somehow ‘terribly beautiful’; that God/Love is not present ‘despite’, but right in the midst of; and that the soul’s journey of becoming (of learning what it looks like to be Love) takes place right here in the often brutally ‘ugly’ places of life. her experience is my own… in that within the most painful places of my life, i was blessed, and have come to know that the sacred and profane are as close to one another as a breath. when i first read her diary a few years ago, i found myself to be overflowing with ‘yeses’ at her discovery of beauty/love/god ‘in the midst of’, and at her uncovering the indestructible serenity that is within. in a way, she feels kindred to julian of norwich’s ‘all manner of things shall be well’, especially when you know something of the horrific world in which julian also lived. these women feel like kindred spirits to me, ones who know what i/we know. no polyanna version (or vision) are these ‘life is beautiful’s’ but ones of great depth…and yet i wonder, could it be a wisdom that cannot always be so readily expressed to another (especially when the other is in the midst of a suffering that they perceive as mere suffering) lest it be heard as a dismissive cure-all or felt as cover for pain or risk making suffering sound noble or the individual sufferer made into an unattainable, elevated idol. alas, this knowing must come from within, i suppose. it is in truth perhaps what each of us truly know deep down, when we are willing to look inward and listen to the still voice. only then, perhaps, can one find true comfort in words such as etty’s for in them at last you find a companion, soul-sister, one who knows and understands the depths of your heart, whose voice resonates with the voice within.

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M.C. Reardon


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