The invincibility of human spirit – Lessons From Anne Frank

“I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquillity will return again.” ~ Anne Frank

I am always fascinated by the boomerang effect of history and how at this watershed moment in our current world affairs we have so much to learn from those that have been here before us.

Boris Johnston, who is struggling with his own health issues, is larger than life character full of optimism and hope – his leadership style and approach to life remind me so much of the extraordinary characteristics of  Anne Frank… 

Frank’s diary has also done its rounds with other iconic leaders – Nelson Mandela, for example, said that the young girl’s diary was an inspiration to him and his colleagues during their imprisonment on Robben Island. The diary taught him about  “the invincibility of human spirit” and that her story had sunk deep into their souls. It had given them hope to commence the ‘long road to freedom’…

“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” ~ Anne Frank

During her own ‘madness’ 80 years ago, she started to record her feelings and observations in a diary given to her by her dad when she had just turned thirteen.

In a far worse off position than most of us today, she transcended what it means to really survive – where the process of living was far more important than the outcome.

I have no doubt that Boris is a survivor and like many before, will get through this-

“I see the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds. The perfectly round spot on which we’re standing is still safe, but the clouds are moving in on us.” ~ Anne Frank

Frank survived through surrender. She accepted the fact that she might die and was certainly aware of her own impending doom, but simultaneously embraced and tried to extend, the life she was currently living. To her, a life condemned but not yet finished could be exquisitely rich and rewarding. Boris may be feeling the same way but like Frank, I am sure that his tenacity will rule supreme…

For the rest of us, Frank reminds us that it is not simply a matter of how long you live, but how well you live. As with most people in ‘lockdown’ she worked hard at establishing a normal life with meaning, direction and simplicity in an otherwise insane existence. 

Like Frank, we have the opportunity to undergo the transformation that is characteristic of a survival journey – 

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” ~ Anne Frank

What an inspirational teenager – may she live in our hearts always as we emulate her tenacity and courage when all seems hopeless and may Boris Johnston remember that “where there’s hope, there’s life… “

Some parting words from this beautiful soul

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank