"Novels ought to have hope" Anne Lamott

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Seeing Beauty Where There is None

Posted by Nikki Rosen on April 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

"He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery." Anne Frank  

It's hard to think Anne Frank was only fourteen when she wrote this. Fourteen and hated - for no other reason than being Jewish. Fourteen and having her world as she had known it - turned upside down. Fourteen and not able to go outside to smell the flowers, or attend a dance or sit in a classroom and daydream about boys, or her future or life....

In spite of the hatred and brutality that had taken over her world - in spite of  being stripped of all the comforts of home and school and friendships - in spite of those who believed she had no right to exist......fourteen year old Anne wrote as if her world was normal....as if nothing had changed....putting her thoughts down on paper - the thoughts of a normal teen.....

I try to visualize what it must have felt like to be 14 and forced to live in a small space with people terrified for their lives - fearing the craziness of those who wanted to kill not only you but your whole race - people who lived with fear that if they were found - they would die.....or worse...

Anguish- cries heard in the streets - family, friends, respected elders -taken - their lives stolen - beaten like violent criminals - intemples, in shops, in communities - there was no safe place....no where to hide. It was always just a matter of time.

Yet in the midst of that senseless brutality - 14 year old Anne kept her diary and wrote like any typical young teen pondering the world around her and her place in it.

Her words strong, positive, powerful: "I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be....I don't think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains."

I didn't have the strength that Anne had. Or the courage - nor her positive outlook. I felt the hatred and I hated back. I felt thebrutality and I wanted to lash out against every perpetrator who hurt me. I let the brutality pull me into its lies - into its fear, into its hatred - Everything in my world was black - dark  - I saw no beauty. I wanted so bad to give up and to give in to the darkness. I saw no hope- no light - no meaning.


Anne had been raised by loving parents - parents who gave her security and a strong foundation  - so strong that when the darkness came - she was able to push it aside and still see beauty. I'm trying to parent my girls that way. Maybe it's working. My oldest  14 - is amazingly positive. She inspires me - she teaches me....


Growing up in a Jewish home - I heard the phrase over and over: "to not remember the past is to be condemned to repeat it."  I used to wonder why do Jewish people constantly talk about what happened....and hold memorials and give honor to the survivors.  I was told - 'so it will never happen again. From one generation to the next - we must tell what happened.' 


I think I'm beginning to understand.....to tell of the brutality we lived- in some way is a protection for the next generation - to know - to be aware - to live a bit differently - to understand there is darkness -but there's also a strength, a hope - a light with each survivor who stands up and says, "I survived. The darkness couldn't destroy me."

I never wanted anyone to know what happened to me - all those things I lived - Today I want you to know, "I survived." And everytime I read someone else' story - and know they too have survived - I'm cheering.


Categories: Gentle Recovery

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