A reading from the diary of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman, written during the time of the Holocaust.
Living and dying, sorrow and joy, the blisters on my feet and the jasmine behind the house, the persecution, the unspeakable horrors—it is all as one in me, and I accept it all as one mighty whole and begin to grasp it better if only for myself, without being able to explain to anyone else how it all hangs together.
Yes, we carry everything within us, God and Heaven and Hell and Earth and Life and Death and all of history. The externals are simply so many props; everything we need is within us.
There was a time when I thought that I had to come up with a host of brilliant ideas each day, and now I sometimes feel like a barren stretch of land on which nothing grows, but which is nevertheless spanned by a high, wide sky. Something has crystallized. I have looked our destruction, our miserable end, which has already begun in so many small ways in our daily life, straight in the eye and accepted it into my life, and my love of life has not been diminished.
By “coming to terms with life” I mean: the reality of death has become a definite part of my life; my life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability.
A reading from An Interrupted Life by Etty Hillesum.