How Anne Frank Is Inspiring Me During this Pandemic…

Eight months of sheltering in place with limited outside social interactions and activities has proved to be a trial at times, particularly when you add in all the days that smoke from California wildfires made it too hazardous to even sit or walk outside. It was easy to feel trapped and unsettled. Blue at times. Maybe even a little angry.

I know I’m not alone in this. Certainly we’ve all felt some mental anguish. So many have suffered financial hardship. Others loneliness and isolation. We miss family and friends, and conversely, are challenged with being with others almost 24/7.

Recently my county reverted to purple-tier restrictions due to the rise of coronavirus cases. There’s a curfew in place from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and new guidelines. And I find myself sighing a lot again and feeling my mood settle around my ankles.

And then Anne Frank popped into my mind. Anne Frank’s diary was required reading when I was in school and even now I own a copy. I thought about those two+ years she lived in hiding with seven other people in an annex of some 450 square feet! Never being able to leave the building. Little to do. Having to be quiet during the day. Stuck with the same people day in, day out. And while the coronavirus pandemic will not be as difficult or dangerous for most of us (though sadly the death toll stands at almost 254,000 in the U.S. alone and climbing), I thought perhaps her diary might give clues as to how she coped during those years in hiding.

Here are some things I learned.

Don’t be a Grumpy Puss

December 24, 1943: Believe me, if you’ve been shut up for a year and a half, it can get to be too much for you sometimes. But feelings can’t be ignored, no matter how unjust or ungrateful they seem. I long to ride a bike, dance, whistle, look at the world, feel young and know that I am free, and yet I can’t show it. Just imagine what would happen if all eight of us were to feel sorry for ourselves or walk around with discontent clearly visible on our faces.

“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

Doesn’t that touch your heart! So commonsense and wise for one so young living in such a perilous situation.

Write it Out!

This quote spoke to the writer in me…

April 5, 1944: I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived!

“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

Journaling has saved my sanity at times and I think it helped Anne immensely throughout her short life. And what a blessing her diary survived and indeed she has gone on living after her death. While my notebooks (Lord willing) will never see the light of day, I am reminded how writing in them has often revived my spirits and helped me put things in perspective.

Recreation of Anne Frank’s desk in the Annex. Courtesy of AnneFrank.org

Appreciate Love

I think what helped Anne most towards the end was the friendship/love interest she had with Peter, the only boy in the Annex.

April 17, 1944: It’s so peaceful and safe, lying in his arms and dreaming, it’s so thrilling to feel his cheek against mine, it’s so wonderful to know there’s someone waiting for me.

May 19, 1944: Everything’s going fine between Peter and me. The poor boy has an even greater need for tenderness than I do. He still blushes every evening when he gets his good-night kiss, and then begs for another one.

“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

It was new territory for these two teenagers and I’m sure brought much excitement and new purpose to their days in the annex. While my love interest and I have been together for about a zillion years and our relationship is no longer new and shiny, we do have the lovely patina of a life together and an enduring love. How blessed I am to be sheltering with the man I chose all those years ago!

Enough said.

Stay safe friends,

Karen

P.S. Next post will be about some lovely vintage things…I promise!

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