For me, as a story lover coming from a family of story tellers - the power of story superseded everything I had ever learned in history or sermons. It was my language.
Besides this was not only a story by a christian writer - it was about a woman! I didn't need to have any cautions or screens for this type of writing. I could accept it, understand it and engage in it unconditionally with all of my emotional being and thereby remember it forever. I might not be able to explain it - but I would remember it.
I labelled it as a profound learning. I had no other words at the time to describe the impact on me. All I knew was that it convinced me of something. What that was - had no over all description.
I didn't like Phillip's word, non-resistance. It felt old to me. It felt male.
Nor do I like the more current word, non-violence. Both are reactive. I prefer my goal-oriented, important words to be proactive.
I didn't like the word pacifism because it eliminates the idea of fighting. And in my understanding there are good fights and bad fights. To eliminate the idea of "fighting the good fight," I think robs us of something exhilarating.
As I look at the words of the reviewers of White Banners, who I quoted in a previous blog, I like them all - and I think they are accurate. Hannah was someone who brought a practical wisdom into her life. She was courageous, sacrificial, industrious, creative, proactive, responsible, innovative, with an uncanny and practical belief in a providential force. She also believed in spreading a secret goodness - an intriguing and inspiring concept.
In my words, Hannah's life was broad. She incorporated non-resistance, pacifism, together with her practical wisdom, courage - and forward thinking. She was all about leaving the past behind and moving into the new future with creativity, industry and adventure. She also believed that an attitude of sacrifice - not defending oneself - charmed divinity. And somehow engaged the deity - or enticed "it" to become involved with the issue.
I really like the latter - her idea of deity. It opened up the idea that if we give our "fight" to God - then God is obligated to fight it for us. After all there is that promise... "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." It's the idea that in our broken world, justice is too complicated for us - we don't know enough to do it. We need the designer of the universe to help us figure it out.
If I would narrow it down into my language at the time even more, I would have said, the book was all about - not fighting - giving it to God - moving away from the battle - wanting the best for everyone - and creating something new with building blocks of goodness - known and unknown. This takes faith, courage, patience, hope and love.
My problem was to find "the descriptive tag line that would bring all those attributes together."
I started with the word forgiveness (which I prefer to non-resistance and pacifism) because I noticed that sacrifice came first. Hannah was all about forgiveness. One has to "forgo" the negative before one can move into the positive. It was also the word that connected to my understanding of how God had chosen to heal the broken word.
But the word "forgiveness" alone insinuates something more relational which was more constrictive than what Hannah was exploring. Hannah was also about an entire lifestyle.
I'm not sure how I did it - when or why - but I think I just began to call it all a "forgiving lifestyle."
Forgiveness together with lifestyle, allows it to broaden. A forgiving lifestyle becomes a process that changes everyone involved and the circumstances around them.
That's what Hannah was all about, I concluded.
That was her experiment - a "forgiving lifestyle."
It was going to be mine as well.
Little did I know what lay before me.
“Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” ― C. JoyBell C.