In honor of Anne Frank’s birthday (June 12, 1929), I wanted to post an excerpt from her diary. There are so many good parts to choose from! But this one from the entry of March 7, 1944 caught my eye almost immediately this morning as I was skimming through the book:
. . .
. . . At the beginning of the New Year: the second great change, my dream. . . . …I also discovered my inward happiness and my defensive armor of superficiality and gaiety. In due time I quieted down and discovered my boundless desire for all that is beautiful and good.
And in the evening, when I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, ‘I thank you, God, for all that is good and clear and beautiful,’ I am filled with joy. Then I think about ‘the good’ of going into hiding, of my health and with my whole being of the ‘dearness’ of Peter, of that which is still embryonic and impressionable and which we neither of us dare to name or touch, of that which will come sometime; love, the future, happiness and of ‘the beauty’ which exist in the world; the world, nature, beauty and all, all that is exquisite and fine.
I don’t think then of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. This is one of the things that Mummy and I are so entirely different about. Her counsel when one feels melancholy is: ‘Think of all the misery in the world and be thankful you are not sharing in it!’ My advice is: ‘Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!’
I don’t see how Mummy’s idea can be right, because then how are you supposed to behave if you go through the misery yourself? Then you are lost. On the contrary, I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you. Look at these things, then you find yourself again, and God, and then you regain your balance.
And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!
I’m not sure how to say this without it sounding trite, but Anne Frank really is a deeply inspirational person to me. At only 14 and 15 or so, she seems so far ahead of me at 23; I want to be like her in many ways. I am so thankful for her life, and saddened by the way it was cut off; and I am also so glad that we have this written witness to two (plus) years of it — years crucial not only to history, but also to the development of the particular person that was (is) Anne Frank — in the form of her surviving diary, in which she also recorded on April 4, 1944 this incredible statement:
I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving me this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is in me.
And so am I grateful for the same — on Anne’s behalf, and on my/our own. I’m grateful, too, to know that she got her wish. And my wish on her birthday is that every young person in the world could, and would, read her diary, learn from it, and remember those things always. And every adult, too, for that matter.
p.s. Anne was also a pretty awesome blossoming feminist, in the best sense. More excerpts showing this in future posts, perhaps? Perhaps.