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Ruth Pyke’s letter in the February Diary January 20, 2017

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.
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Last year we planted snowdrops. This year we are waiting to see if they have survived the winter. They will not rival the big gardens which, with their carpets of snowdrops, bring thousands of visitors; but they will be a first glimpse of spring.

Lying hidden through the year, their growth is unseen until the first shoots and flowers pierce the earth, even if snow is on the ground. They promise warmer, longer days to come and are a sign of growth and goodness beneath the surface.

As January turns to February we commemorate all those who died in the holocaust of World War 2 – a truly appalling period. We are conscious that even today thousands of refugees are driven out of their homes and lands because they are deemed to be the ‘wrong’ nationality, the ‘wrong’ ethnic grouping, the ‘wrong’ religion. But even in those circumstances, even in the holocaust, there were those who, under the surface and hidden like the growth of the snowdrop, imagined a better life, a better world. In February or March 1945, Anne Frank died in Bergen Belsen. For two years she had hidden in Amsterdam in Nazi occupied Holland. In her hiding place she wrote the diary that has become a powerful witness to courage and hope, recording her daily life and imagining a future that would bring peace.

 ‘It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more.’

Imagination is the first step. It is the hidden work that goes on before we can act. What change can we each imagine that would be a glimpse of a better future? Maybe we can start with these words of Isaiah: ‘See I am doing a new thing, I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.’

Ruth

 

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