BETWEEN THE DARK AND THE DAYLIGHT
Product DescriptionJoan Chittister, OSB
“There is a part of the soul that stirs at night, in the dark and soundless times of day, when our defenses are down and our daylight distractions no longer serve to protect us from ourselves,” writes beloved author, Joan Chittister. “It’s then, in the still of life, when we least expect it, that questions emerge from the damp murkiness of our inner underworld…These questions do not call for the discovery of data; they call for the contemplation of possibility.” In words as wise as they are inspiring, Between the Dark and the Daylight explores the concerns of modern life, of the overworked mind and hurting heart. These are the paradoxical—and often frustrating—moments when our lives feel at odds with everything around us. Only by embracing the contradictions, Chittister contends, may we live well amid stress, withstand emotional storms, and satisfy our yearnings for something transcendent and real. By delving into the chaos, this book guides us through the questions that seemed easier to avoid and enlightens what has been out of focus. With her signature elegance, wit, and spirit, the bestselling author of The Gift of Years and Following the Path opens our eyes and hearts in these times of confusion. With simple and poignant meditations, Between the Dark and the Daylight reveals how we can better understand ourselves, one another, and God.
Maureen Fiedler of Interfaith Voices recently interviewed Joan Chittister regarding the themes of this book.
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Interview with Joan Chittister about Between the Dark and the Daylight.
Q. What is your hope or goal for this book?
I am hoping to generate good conversations about the unseen elements of life that often affect our decisions more than they should. It's a matter of helping people think through all the dimensions of life as we deal with the rest of it.
To put it another way: Life is made up of context as well as content. These things--the social environment, out attitudes, our goals, our sense of self--all affect the way we come to our decisions and why. The purpose of this book is to bring those things to consciousness so we can come to understand why we think what we think as we go through life.
It's an attempt to make the invisible parts of life visible to us in ways that free us to operate at our best.
Q. What made you decide to write about this topic?
I think this topic helps to take the sense of aloneness out of life. Everyone deals with each of these things like what it means to be part of the crowd, for instance. The question is when is the crowd helpful--and when not. What part of being in a crowd is more harmful than good. Discussions like that alone make the discussion of particular issues both more real and more honest.
Life is a series of paradoxes--contradictions that are as true as they are false--that confront us all our lives. The point is to look at each of them from every perspective and bend them to our strengths, not simply surrender to the pitfalls they present us with.
Q. In the introduction you write, “Whatever it is that we harbor in the soul throughout the nights of our lives is what we will live out during the hours of the day.” How do we focus our souls during the nights so that we can live with purpose and stability during the days?
In the first place, we have to focus on the attitudes we bring to every challenge in life. We have to ask whether or not we have examined each of them thoroughly or only with prejudice.
We have to grow beyond our fears in order to become our best and strongest selves. But to do that we need to look them in the eye, up close and personal. Then, we can concentrate on the issues we're dealing with and not be distracted by elements of life that have not real bearing on the issue itself.
Q. You talk about this premise that the spiritual life begins within the heart of a person and so “when the storms within recede, the world around us will still and stabilize as well.” What a great visualization! Can you offer a few practical tips for settling our inner storms?
By admitting our fears and prejudices to ourselves we make room for other ways of thinking. Then we no longer get up in the morning geared for battle.
Fear and prejudice end when we can admit each of them, examine each of them with others, and understand the value and weakness of each position. Once we do that, we will be capable of talking out other difficult things together, too.
BOOK REVIEW: One of the most well-known and trusted contemporary spiritual authors has tackled a significant topic that will speak to seekers of all faiths,” is how Publishers Weekly review of Joan Chittister’s new book, Between the Dark and the Daylight begins.
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“Here, at last, is a book for those ready to make peace with the unsolvable riddles of present-day life. Why are we so lonely in a world of so little privacy? Why do we work so hard for control we can never achieve? Whether the problem that keeps you up at night is how to find safety in a world that is always changing or how to deal with guilt in a life that is far from perfect, Sister Joan has good news for you: these are the questions that make you human, and can make you more joyously human if you choose.” --Barbara Brown Taylor, author of Learning to Walk in the Dark