October 14, 2020

“Sin is Behovely, but all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” ~ Dame Julian of Norwich, 1342-1416 Julian, a Christian mystic, theologian, and anchorite in a monastery in Norwich, England wrote those words in the midst extremely difficult times, including the Black Plague (from which she almost died) and several wars. I’ve held onto those words of promise – that all shall be well – in this season. The spiritual phrase I took as my own personal one-word prayer over a decade ago is “trust,” perhaps unconsciously shorthand for Julian’s guidance.  

Tuesday afternoon, in a weekly virtual small group I’m a part of with women from Charlotte, I was reminded of Dame Julian when someone shared a brief dialogue from Sue Monk Kidd’s most recent novel, “The Book of Longings.” The protagonist of the novel is Ana, a 1st century woman in the Ancient Near East. In this conversation, Ana, now a young wife whose husband’s very life is in danger has shared her her deepest concerns with her aunt and spiritual mother, Yaltha. Yaltha says, “All shall be well, child.” Ana replies, “Will it? You cannot know that! How can you know that?” Yaltha says, “Oh, Ana, Ana. When I tell you all shall be well, I don’t mean that life will bring you no tragedy. Life will be life. I only mean that you shall be well in spite of it. All shall be well, no matter what.”

That is radial hope, stubborn hope that the One who holds all things can and will hold us, come what may. I am clinging to that hope and pray that you are, too.

With radical hope – Anne

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