This Holy Week I am rereading a book that I only read recently but has stayed with me. It’s “An interrupted life- the diaries of Etty Hillesum.” To me and to Mary,who recommended and gave me the book, she most mirrored the mystical life of Christ and the few other Mystics I have read. Etty is a modern Dutch woman, an academic who studied Russian and psychology. She was Jewish and died in Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1943. She was 29 years old.
There is a tragic end to her life, yet a ‘light filled mind ‘ shines through her diaries. She is recognisably modern. She is very direct in her writing style and has a ‘fluent immediacy.’ Few people I have read have the perception she has for she has a huge inner life. She really values private self reflection. Many have pointed out her ‘perfect inner pitch.’ She shows a great ability to control her own excesses and” to give some form to the chaos inside her.”
But what many people have valued in her is how she learned the kind of love “that combines deep sympathy with calm detachment.” She values contemplation and it brings everything together for her. She trusts her own experience and she is grateful for all that has been given to her. She senses ‘the hidden harmony of the world.’ We can solve the Problems of the world inside ourselves.
‘When I pray,’ she writes, ‘ I hold a silly, naive or deadly serious dialogue with what is deepest inside me, which for the sake of convenience I call God.’ There are great quotes from Etty on Google.