I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall,
withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell
and then step outside again, calmer and stronger
and more collected again.

Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life

One thought on “sunday

  1. ohhhh… Etty H. She is a saint if anyone is. As I update on friends, the men in our family (Hebrew Bible expert and 17 year old trying to push for some solid Truth beyond contradictions) are watching “God on Trial”, based on a true story of Jews debating in a Nazi concentration camp, as only the Jews can, from Job’s complexities to the Exodus (“did God kill Pharaoh? no, he killed the children. Did God close the waters behind Moses before the soldiers entered? No, he waited until the route was full. God has not changed, it’s just that he was on our side before.”) to the Diaspora. One tells of having to choose one of 3 sons and send 2 others away, and questions the meaning of free will. God is found guilty of breaking covenant. The debaters are among those called out to die. “Now that we have found God guilty, what do we do?” “we pray.” And they do, the visual moving between them and modern pilgrims to the camp, then bringing the naked prisoners and bundled pilgrims into the same shot, some in each era praying, some blank-eyed and silent.
    My 17 year old says “well, that was depressing”. I point him back to the very last words, a survivor – now an old man – who walks out of the camp with his granddaughter, answering her question about why he participated in the prayer at the marker. “Because some of us are still here”, he says to the strong-faced young woman at his side.
    Somewhere in that camp Etty left her ashes, caring for those around her. “I draw prayer around me…..”


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