There is a book of Elizabeth’s for every situation in life. I have never felt turned away or unanswered when I go to her work. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, what my situation is, she gives me an answer. She is there to empathises and put out a hand in comfort.
Today I am sitting with Miss Brown on a seat outside the Free Library, with the roar of London traffic at my back. Although in truth my body is cradled in the deep quiet of a countryside afternoon in autumn.
But like Miss Brown, I have been “ in the grip of fear; not just apprehension or anxiety, but real fear, naked and horrible”
And yet as she says I am “ not worse off than many other people” Miss Brown loses her home and her livelihood during a world war, and that is not the case with me. We just have to sell the home we have lived in for over thirty years and earnt our living from and move away. We too do not know where we will end up or how we will get there.
But then I think about all the refugees that are currently displaced in the world today, and try to imagine their trauma and pain, fleeing from war or famine. The loss of one’s home, the identity we have made over generations must be immense. Isaac the refugee from Germany speaks for them all. “God how he hated the loneliness of perpetual wandering! No satisfactory companionship was possible if you could not strike down roots”
(Castle On The Hill p36 of the 1949 edition) He feels as if he was superfluous to life, that his existence has no meaning or relevance to anyone. Something which is realizes as the book progresses is far from the truth.
Elizabeth peppers her books with wonderful quotes from other writers to enhance her themes or underline a point she is making and I love the one she uses here
“We are the Pilgrims, Master; we shall go
Always a little further:”
Flecker’s verse is out of vouge and difficult in it’s subject matter, but seems very appropriate for our situation and times, when the world is undergoing the mass exodus of people from intolerable situations, desperate to find sanctuary.
So, I will read of the courage and strength endured in The Castle On The Hill during the Second World War and find the tranquillity of the autumn countryside mirrored back at me. As Dame Juliana of Norwich says and is quoted famously by T. S. Eliot, “ And all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Thank you Elizabeth for bringing perspective and good sense into my life.