Nov 21 2010

Wisdom From “The Diary of a Young Girl”

porch view 406A few weeks ago my wife and I rented and watched the movie “The Freedom Writers.”  It is based on the true story of a school teacher whose innovative teaching methods transformed the lives of several troubled teenagers.  A large portion of the movie relates to the students’ reaction to reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  Somehow I had managed to live fifty-four years without reading this classic work and the movie inspired me to rectify this.

Reading this book has certainly instilled within me a greater appreciation for the freedom we have here in the United States.  Reading about Anne and her family hiding from the Nazis for such a long period you realize that it is a mistake to take our freedom for granted.  I cannot imagine having to endure what the Frank family did.  Reading this book has brought home to me the tragedy of the Holocaust in ways I could not have imagined.

Within the pages of The Diary of a Young Girl I also came across a beautiful passage that deserves to be shared with you today.  In her entry for February 23, 1944, Anne writes: “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.”  A few paragraphs later she concludes this entry by saying, “Whenever you’re feeling lonely or sad, try going to the loft on a beautiful day and looking outside.  Not at the houses and the rooftops, but at the sky.  As long as you can look fearlessly at the sky, you’ll know that you’re pure within and will find happiness once more.”

For the last few years of her short life Anne’s experience with nature was limited to brief peeks out the window and observing the sky from the loft of the Secret Annex.  It brought her great joy just to see the moon. 

It amazes me that a fourteen year old girl wrote the words cited above.  Surely she possessed a wisdom well beyond her years.  I’m so thankful that her journal survived and got published.  I am thankful that despite her horrible circumstances nature afforded Anne Frank moments of joy.  I am thankful that God’s Creation continues to be “the best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy.”


(I took the picture above of the trees and sky from my porch yesterday.)

Oct 11 2009

The Best Remedy

UP Bond River Reflections 397In the Diary of Anne Frank Anne writes, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”  I can’t say that I was afraid, lonely or unhappy before coming to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but being alone in nature this past week has certainly been uplifting for me.  For the past six days I have been here soaking in the magnificent beauty of God’s Creation.

I saw a shirt recently that had had a saying Anne Frank would have approved of; it said “Nature is good for the soul.”  I truly believe that this is exactly as God intended it to be.  For humans “the simple beauty of nature” is meant to be therapeutic.  Things like sunrises, sunsets, crashing waves, singing birds, autumn foliage, and waterfalls can bring peace and tranquility to the soul.  They can lift one’s spirits and move a person to worship the One responsible for these precious gifts.

UP PRNL 825I’ve included two images from this past week that have special meaning to me.  While photographing the reflections above Bond Falls and the waterfall on Miner’s Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore I experienced a sensation that God was quite near.  At both locations I found myself repeating the words “thank you” over and over again.  I was thankful for the opportunity to photograph such beauty and even more thankful for God making it possible for me to do so.  He truly is an awesome God!

Getting away on vacation has not brought me much physical rest but it certainly has provided the rest I needed for my soul.   Now if I could just discipline myself to take more mini-vacations in nature once I get back home…