The best remedy

A gull and a person, enjoying solitude at the beach. Dam Neck, Virginia, April 2010

A gull and a person, enjoying solitude at the beach. Dam Neck, Virginia, April 2010

“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

Think about it: those words were written by a young girl trapped indoors, hiding in an ultimately vain attempt to escape a fate even more cruel.  Her courageous example of how to defeat despair has inspired people all over the world.

Perhaps being deprived of the solace found in nature only served to give Anne a deeper appreciation of it.  Most of us have no reason to fear such deprivation, but we can learn from hers nonetheless.  I hope we will all take the advice of a young person who was wise beyond her years.  Let’s make time to exercise this freedom to go outside and rejoice, in honor of Anne and all like her who left a legacy of courage and optimism to light the way for us.

One year ago today

God’s furniture


  1. When I’ve missed my father on his birthday – a day working in the garden brought contentment. When I wasn’t sure what was next in a job search – a morning round of disc golf cleared my mind.

    When I want to reconnect with my family – a weekend camping does the trick. Every time.

    This is beautiful, and i’m so glad i couldn’t sleep this morning so I’d get up and see it! I wonder if Ann Frank would be the author who could help one of my kids fall in love with reading.

    • Thanks Eli, I am so glad you like it! Did you see the movie Freedom Writers? Supposedly it is based on a true story, and that teacher used the Diary of Anne Frank to get her at-risk students interested in reading and writing. Eventually the students met (in person) the woman who had helped to hide the Frank family. Thanks for sharing your ideas of ways to re-connect and recharge through being outdoors. I appreciate your visits here!

      • I did see that movie! Pretty inspirational … maybe I’ll watch that movie with her first, and see if it ignites anything.

        • There is also a book, from which the movie was adapted. Someone gave it to me years ago and it’s still on my “to read” list.

  2. thinking of you and your beautiful family.

    • Thank you Lisa – I hope you are doing well, and will have a wonderful year in 2014!

  3. raynard

    Julia for the last 3 days, Ive been outside to, take the trash out and go to the laundry room.( I think “Date Night”) is tonight or tomorrow.( I did promise to take the dogs out to”the dog park maybe I can squeeze in some”chik Filet) You and Jeff are the first to see a preview of my cakes I’ve baked in the last few years.( I can use some encouragement to”step up my creative”blah blah blah, yadie yadie yadie lol be blessed

    • Chick Fil A is one of our favorite places around here! In fact, Matt got some gift card money from there for Christmas and ate there yesterday. We got the email, but the video wouldn’t open. The photos came through fine though, thanks for sharing them!

  4. Sheila

    Julia, more than once when I had overwhelming circumstances I recall seeking comfort outside. On the morning of 9-11, after enduring all the news and shock that I could comprehend, I WALKED. I don’t remember much about the walk itself. I just recall it seemed appropriate to be outside. At that particular time, the sounds of the waves on the beach, were overpowered by the silence of the sky. It truly was God’s remedy!

    • Sheila, how wonderful that you were able to be near the beach that day. I can remember walking in our neighborhood park and watching the skies every time I heard a plane going over. It would have been wonderful to have the comforting “white noise” of the surf – a perfect remedy indeed! I imagine you can take a walk on the beach almost anytime you feel stressed. Quite a blessing, and I enjoy going there vicariously with you. Thanks for being here and sharing with us!

  5. Beautiful post. And so true. Nature is my “go to” for rejuvenation as well as comfort.

    • Thank you, I’m glad you like it! The great thing about taking solace in nature is that it can be found in some form everywhere. Even in the cities there are parks and rooftop gardens for those who seek them out.

  6. MaryAnn

    Suiting up at this moment to go be “amidst the simple beauty of nature”. Thank you for your reminder that being outside with our God is “the best remedy”! The marvels to embrace & enjoy!

    • Yes, Mary Ann, and you live in one of the most fabulous places for nature lovers! I hope you will enjoy the beautiful NorCal Republic for me until I am able to come back for a visit sometime!

  7. I read the Diary of Anne Frank many years ago and was impressed by her maturity and talent for words.
    Blessings to you and Jeff. Hope he is continuing to recover.

    • Thanks Merry! I need to go back and re-read the diary. I’ve discovered recently that diaries, journals and letters are among my favorite reading material. I’m currently reading through Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s most recently published papers, edited by her daughter, and I’m really enjoying them. Jeff’s recovery is slow, but steady. I think the hardest part for him is psychological. He’s so accustomed to staying busy with work that he’s quite frustrated by how much he needs to rest. Thanks for being with us here!

  8. As my friend calls it “The Church of the Outdoors”. It’s a wonderful place to meet with the Lord.

    • So true! I often thought that no cathedral on earth could equal the grandeur of the “cathedral grove” at Muir Woods. What better way to visit the great Creator than to enjoy the creation in all its enduring glory, full of change, sameness, diversity and fascination!

  9. sam

    I have always enjoyed the beauty of being outside. One memory that is etched in my mind is riding the ski lift to the top of the mountain for the first run of the day, and starting to ski back down on the freshly fallen snow before the crowds hit the trails. Frequently I would choose one of the runs that would allow me to be able to stop and meditate on the surrounding majestic mountain peaks and the quietness and stillness of the moment, and I just felt so close to God and the beauty of His creation. Words seem so inadequate . Thanks Julia for this reminder and for the quote from Anne Frank. I’m thankful that your family was able to share Christmas this year and for the encouraging news about Jeff and enjoy Grady. Praying for each of you as we begin 2014 & Happy New Year.

    • Thank you Sam! The one time I went skiing (in the Bavarian Alps just before my 16th birthday) what I remember most is that I kept looking at the gorgeous mountains all around me and telling myself “This is real, this is not a dream.” Words are definitely inadequate! Thanks so much for your good wishes and prayers. We need and appreciate them! Happy 2014 to you and your loved ones.

  10. We’re truly lucky to live near enough to the Canadian Rockies to be able to go for a weekend and be home Sunday Night. The days never seem long enough to take in all the beauty around you. Living in northern Alberta means our summers are pretty short and we’re no guaranteed a spring or fall really. Some years they’re glorious, but some years is goes from snow to rain one week and we’re like, “well, I guess that was spring”..LOL I think we do a pretty good job of enjoying all the seasons here, no matter what the weather. Canadians are typically outdoor people. Hockey, Skiing, Swimming, Boating whatever it takes to enjoy a nice day. One night, it was probably -32 C here and we still bundled up to walk out for dinner. You have to, because if you wait for the weather to be perfect, you’ll have cabin fever.

    Thank you for reminding me how completely wonderful Anne Franks writing is. Anne is actually my Middle name so I always liked that too. An exceptional human being living in a terrible part of history.

    • It was so moving to tour Anne’s home in the “secret annex” and see the walls just as she left them, with clippings of things she kept. How surprised she might be to know how her writing has blessed millions of people.

      What I most disliked about living in San Antonio, Texas, was the absence of spring or fall. It seemed to go from dry HEAT to a few rainy months, then back to dry HEAT. It was too hot to enjoy being outside even after dark. In California it was mostly springtime all year except for the winter rains. I have really enjoyed the long springs and falls of Virginia, although some years are better than others in that regard. Unpredictability can be fun, though it can also be a pain. Good point about not waiting for ideal circumstances. That concept could be applied to all of life!

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