Silent Retreat – Day 4


Day 4

There is always a sense of loss when I finish a book. I get emotionally involved with the characters, and then it ends. Whether a happy or sad ending, I often feel empty. I stare into space thinking about what I’ve read, wondering about the characters, letting the emotions wash through me. Sometimes it’s difficult to move on. “Truth and Beauty” by Ann Patchett, was such a book, leaving me stunned.

As I was taking a last sweep around my bedroom before leaving on this silent retreat adventure, it was “Truth and Beauty”, waiting for maybe 2 years to be noticed, that I grabbed. This compelling story of two young woman, both aspiring and then successful writers, is a tale of commitment and triumph, survival and courageous endurance. Their’s is a passionate friendship of acceptance, patience, and compassion. Ultimately, it is a story about our very deep need to be known and loved.

Lucy, talented writer, over the top personality, erratic, irreverent, gathering admirers like Mardi Gras beads and Ann, also a talented writer, but disciplined, steady, caring, and a brilliant friend. These two women each filling a great need in the other.

I was especially effected by the end of this book. Very sad, a little mad, and in awe of Ann’s enduring acceptance, patience, and endless compassion. It started me thinking about how challenging it is to fully accept anyone else with their particular or even peculiar ways. How patience develops from the foundation of acceptance, and how only then can we truly touch compassion. Acceptance, patience, compassion – what the world needs now.

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