Monday, May 25, 2020

Beryl's Spring 2020 Newsletter

Dear Reader,

I hope you have been adapting to the world-wide Covid-19 monastic lifestyle. If it were not for the fear and suffering so many are experiencing, I would totally love being back in the cloister. The ceasing of the constant noise in which we live, a quieting of my spirit. Mother Nature might be enjoying a bit of a break as well. Perhaps a bit less pollution relieving the pressure we place on survival. How much longer it will last is the great unknown. Bill’s severely compromised heath might necessitate continual distancing for the unforeseen future.

I've been reading, thinking, journaling, and praying my way through this new world, trying to understand the forces unleashed by the Covid-19 virus. Empty streets, shopping centers, sidewalks, restaurants, and other gathering places testify to the power of this viral force to change lives and lifestyles. While disheartened by the forces of selfishness, anger, and hatred that threaten the world’s healing, I am moved by the huge wellspring of compassion and generosity this pandemic unleashed in the world. Nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain confidence and equanimity when observing the ineptitude and power mongering of those entrusted with our care.

Wall in Moulin sur Ouveze  Provence Italy
As is often the case when confront by paradox, I found light while arranging the books on my “constant-read” shelf. In a small gem titled Calm Surrender by favorite nonfiction author, Kent Nerburn, I resonated with his words.

 “When we reaffirm the goodness that sprouts from the soil underneath walls of hated or indifference, we are practicing a kind of forgiveness. We are saying that hatred and indifference are not worthy of our anger. We are turning away from the great force of animosity, and underscoring, instead, the goodness struggling to find voice in its shadow.”

I trust that you, my dear friends, embrace “the goodness that sprouts beneath the walls of hatred,” and, by doing so, nurture the hope and acts that will heal the world. Many of us might question God’s presence in events like this pandemic, but I choose to believe that God is with us. That God understands our pain. That God suffers with us and, as Julian of Norwich proclaimed during the besieged fourteenth century, that ultimately “all will be good.”

© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2020
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The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God  was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006. Her second book, A View of the Lake was named a best regional book by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2011

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About Me

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Beryl is the author of The Scent of God: A Memoir published by Counterpoint NY in 2006 and A View of the Lake published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. in 2001. She’s been living on Lake Superior for seventeen wonderful years, and spent 10 years writing two popular columns for the Cook County News Herald: Newcomer Notes and Putting Down Roots. Beryl is past president of the Schroeder Area Historical Society and a long-time chair of its Oral History and Marketing committees. She is a past board member of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais and committee member for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s first ever annual North Shore Reader and Writers Festival. She’s been published in the Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, and The Trenton Times and in the anthologies, Surviving Ophelia published by Perseus Publications in 2001 and The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2, published by Scarletta Press in 2008 and was named Best of Minnesota Writers by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third memoir: the sequel to The Scent of God.