In class, we read a letter written by Victor Frankl upon his return from the horrors of Auschwitz. Despite all he endured there, he came home to find even more loss and suffering, learning that his wife, unborn child, parents, and best friend had all perished in concentration camps. While his book
Man’s Search For Meaning
one of the ten most influential books of our time’—sagaciously reflects on how to overcome suffering and find meaning in difficult times, his letter describes his lowest point of the war:
In the camp, we believed that we had reached the lowest point—and then, when we returned, we saw that nothing has survived, that that which had kept us standing has been destroyed, that at the same time as we were becoming human again it was possible to fall deeper, into an even more boundless suffering. There remains perhaps nothing more to do than cry a little and browse a little through the Psalms.
His practice, at his darkest moment, was to “browse a little through the Psalms.” In Judaism and Christianity, the Psalms represent the voices of poets through the ages who beautifully express the human struggle through lament, praise, joy, shame, and fear. As we find ways to “unzoom” after a long, virtual day, the ancient words of the psalmists offer respite. From Psalm 131:
Still my soul and make it quiet
Like a child upon its mother
My soul is quieted within me
(Psalm 131: 30)
Whether it is a mindfulness practice, a walk outside, or a nap, our souls need time to be still. I take comfort in knowing that despite the changes of our world, this truth is unchanging.
Guide us, O Lord, to the still waters that calm our hearts and grant us peace. Fill us with your strength, so that we may be vessels of hope for others and guide us to seek help when we need it most. Amen
-- The Rev. Katie Solter, St. Mark’s School
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