It is a fool’s hope to review Joan Chittister. So I won’t. But I wanted to capture my reading of her book Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope, and the best way to do that was to locate her own words for the task. Her book is both a small view into a painful experience for her and a series of articulations about struggle and the accompanying gifts which come from those respective struggles.
I think this quote snatches the book in a bite. I hope you find it enticing enough to pick up a copy:
The important things in life, one way or another, all leave us marked and scarred. We call it memory. We never stop remembering our triumphs. We never stop regretting our losses. Some of them mark us with bitterness. But all of them, can, if we will allow them, mark us with wisdom. They transform us from our small, puny, self-centered selves into people of compassion. For the first time, we understand the fearful and the sinful and the exhausted. They have become us and we have become them as well. We recognize the down-and-out in the street who mirrors our despair. We commiserate with the anger of the marginalized. We identify with the invisibility of the outcast. We can finally hear the rage of the forgotten. We are transformed.
From Scarred by Struggle (pg 102)
I just want to write a quick THANK YOU so very much Michael for your posts. I have learned so much about myself, and have been able to give so many struggles, thoughts and feelings voice from reading books that you have suggested and shared. They have aided tremendously in my growth intellectually and Spiritually. So grateful, because I was at a point in my spiritual life where I was STARVING/THIRSTY for more life and freedom. Your posts have been very life-giving. Thank you again!
This is very meaningful, Trenee, and it brings me joy to read your comment. You are welcome.