A hint of eternity

I love solitude but it’s strange to spend quite so much time alone. Thank goodness for the connectivity of modern life. Emails, online gatherings and the phone … as I read somewhere, we are practicing physical distancing but paradoxically becoming socially closer.

My close companions these days are Poppy the dog, Mikey the squirrel who is determined to fathom the squirrel-proof bird feeder (a true spiritual teacher of persistence) and birds and plants.

I’m trying to keep to a timetable and walk around the Canterbury labyrinth every day for exercise and as a meditation.

Just now I received this in an email from my friend, local theologian Dr Philip Knight and so instead of a poem, I’m passing on this quotation. Etty Hillesum is a perennial inspiration.

“A hint of eternity steels through my smallest daily activities and perception.  I am not alone in my tiredness or sickness or fears, but at one with millions of others from many centuries, and it is all part of life, and yet life is beautiful and meaningful too.  It is meaningful even in its meaninglessness, provided one makes room in one’s life for everything, and accepts life as one indivisible whole, for then one becomes whole in oneself.”

(Etty, p. 466.  Etty Hillesum wrote these words on July 4th 1942 in Nazi occupied Amsterdam three weeks before arriving at Westerbork Concentration Camp as a Jewish Volunteer looking after the welfare of others.  In this role she helped Jewish children escape the camp into safe hiding.  She was murdered at Auschwitz in November 1943 aged 29)