Lent 2023, Day 7: God and nature.

Z and I are currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank in Literature, and today we read such a lovely entry, I just have to share an excerpt. Just in case you’ve never read it, here’s the Sparknotes summary:

Anne’s diary begins on her thirteenth birthday, June 12, 1942, and ends shortly after her fifteenth. At the start of her diary, Anne describes fairly typical girlhood experiences, writing about her friendships with other girls, her crushes on boys, and her academic performance at school. Because anti-Semitic laws forced Jews into separate schools, Anne and her older sister, Margot, attended the Jewish Lyceum in Amsterdam.

The Franks had moved to the Netherlands in the years leading up to World War II to escape persecution in Germany. After the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Franks were forced into hiding. With another family, the van Daans, and an acquaintance, Mr. Dussel, they moved into a small secret annex above Otto Frank’s office where they had stockpiled food and supplies. The employees from Otto’s firm helped hide the Franks and kept them supplied with food, medicine, and information about the outside world.

Anne Frank [CBW/ALAMY]

In the entry dated February 23, 1944, Anne describes going up to the attic loft of their hiding place that morning to do some writing, and seeing Peter van Daan (her crush) finishing up some chores. They wind up sitting next to each other, gazing out the window at the sky (a special treat as most of the windows in their living area below must stay covered for their protection). From the book:

But I also looked out the open window, letting my eyes roam over a large part of Amsterdam, over the rooftops and on to the horizon, a strip of blue so pale it was almost invisible. “As long as this exists,” I thought, “this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”

The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere they can be alone, alone with the sky, nature and God. For then and only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity. As long as this exists, and that should be forever, I know that there will be solace for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances. I firmly believe that nature can bring comfort to all who suffer.

This morning, when I was sitting in front of the window and taking a long, deep look outside at God and nature, I was happy, just plain happy. Peter, as long as people feel that kind of happiness within themselves, the joy of nature, health and much more besides, they’ll always be able to recapture that happiness. Riches, prestige, everything can be lost. But the happiness in your own heart can only be dimmed; it will always be there, as long as you live, to make you happy again.

gimme some more
  • Tomorrow, try to spend a few minutes outside taking in the beauty of nature. If the weather isn’t working for you, take a page from Anne’s diary and look out the window. Meditate, pray, or journal.
  • Listen to nature sounds to relax:
  • Watch this video to see some of the beauty of Earth:
  • Take a tour of Anne’s Hidden Home:

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