Beryl Singleton Bissell


From the author

Beryl's Summer 2013 Newsletter

June 28, 2013

God comes to you disguised as your life. –Richard Rohr
How incredibly hopeful, awesome, mind-boggling is the thought that God comes to us disguised as our life. I’ve never thought of God’s presence in quite this manner. Have you?
I’ve thought of you often during the past months, wondering if the devastating weather that’s descended on great swathes of our nation avoided your areas. When Julian of Norwich wrote “All is well, and all is well, and all matter of things are well,” the world was in turmoil, much as it is today. England was caught up in medieval wars, plagues were decimating the populace, injustice, poverty, and starvation rampaged. Yet the pilgrims who approached her anchorage, were given this same message, that “all was well.” Julian knew what we so easily forget, that we have the power to change the way perceive our lives, to replace despair with hope, loneliness with presence, selfishness with compassion. This is the way the world can be transformed into a place where “all will be well” indeed. May all be well with you, too, as you journey through this messed-up, wonderful world.
Life here on Lake Superior is still chilly while up the hill my neighbors are busy gardening, dealing with the black flies, and the heat. I don a jacket at the house and by the time I reach the head of our driveway, I’ve had to discard it. My garden is heroically trying to adjust to the still cold weather but the wildlife is thriving. Since arriving home we’ve seen otters on our ledge rocks, a mother eagle with two offspring on the same rocks (the fishing must be great right there because the young eagles and the otters were dining on large fish) Then, the other day, Bill encountered a large wolf loping up our driveway as he drove down. Both wolves and deer look terribly thin – the winter having been such a long one. Bill and I, after fifteen years here, are still awed and immensely grateful that we live in such a beautiful place where quiet reigns supreme and good neighbors abound.
This morning I woke, as I often do, at 4 a.m. and rather than rising, lay in bed thinking of all the practices with which I would fill this day: meditation, qigong, yoga stretches, inspirational reading, inspirational tapes, inspirational thinking. I felt quite overwhelmed with all the options at my disposal. Then I encountered the words about God coming disguised as our lives, and realized that only one thing is necessary and that is to greet each moment with gratitude, knowing that God is living my life with me, just as God is living your life with you.
Update: I’m still at work on the sequel to The Scent of God, learning all the ways in which not to tell this story. Fiction, my latest attempt, is not the way. So it’s back to memoir. In a recent note to me Ann Patchett wrote “You're wrestling with an enormous, unknowable true story, and you're better off just telling the truth.” My heart tells me she’s right.
© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2013

My Work

The collision of human love and faith
An impetuous move to Lake Superior transforms a life
While writing The Scent of God
"Seven Years in Hell"

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