Faith Shines

I took this photo of daybreak from my bedroom window, March 15, 2022

            No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
              I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

                                       —  Emily Brontë

This is a new post, the first I have written in– well, I don’t even know how long.

I was drawn to this remarkable poem when I recently watched the PBS Masterpiece series To Walk Invisible, about the Brontë sisters. It was so mesmerizing that I did something I’ve never done before: I bought my own copy of it as soon as I finished watching it.

I’ve always been more of a Jane Austen fan, though I loved Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. I wasn’t as fond of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and never learned much about these literary sisters, knowing only what I learned from reading a fiction book based on Charlotte Brontë’s life.

After watching the Masterpiece series, which I highly recommend, I became interested in this poem by Emily, which is featured near the end. When I went searching for it I was surprised to find (from an online copy of the book in which it was originally published posthumously by her sister Charlotte) that it was the last thing she ever wrote, in a too-short life that had been filled with writing. (A photo of the first page of the poem in that book appears below.)

The poem resonated deeply with me. I identified strongly with the first verse in particular. I began to realize that the youthful self who so easily connected with the works of Jane Austen had grown into an older woman whose years of loss and grief brought a renewed understanding of what these sisters brought to their work. The emotional and functional turbulence of loving and living with an alcoholic brother, the support and consolation of sisters very different from each other, and the drive to express oneself through the freedom of writing when other doors are closed– all these struck sympathetic chords with me.

But it was the element of steadfast faith amid loss after loss that rang most strikingly. Like these sisters, whose father was a clergyman, I was reared with Christian devotion as the center of life, around which everything else revolved. Like them, I have often bristled at the hypocrisy and worldly disregard of suffering that is too present in many churches. Yet my very survival has depended on the absolute assurance that the One who is the focus of real or imagined devotion is unchanging and impervious to the failings of human effort. Emily’s poem is evidence that she shared this understanding of divine presence. I hope you share it too.

15 Comments

  1. Amy

    Nice to see a new post here.

  2. Renee West

    Julia – there you are!!! Going through to get to the place that God has for you. I’ve been patiently waiting to hear about my friend Julia that always finds her way because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Faith, Faith and more Faith!

    • Hey there Renee! I owe you a L-O-N-G phone call (don’t know if that’s a promise or a threat? 😀 ) but meanwhile we are surviving and I’m working the phones/email with Matt’s cardiology and liver doctors and their staff, dealing with the latest minor crisis set into the much larger and more worrisome picture. Sort of like the entire world right now, only on an individual level. I’ll try to update you soon. Meanwhile please keep those prayers coming! And thank you for being with me on this path that you so faithfully walked before me. I was so happy to get my much-needed dose of “Vitamin Nay” today! 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Carol Hoyos

    Thank you Julia, I need a spirit of courage right now and it is sometimes difficult to summon up.

    • Hi Carol, thanks for being here! I agree with you that courage can be hard to summon. But remember, we often are enacting it without even realizing we are being brave. It’s only looking back that we see and are amazed. Meanwhile, I am so happy the post helped you. I am sending up a prayer for you, in whatever circumstances you may face today. And remember the theme of this blog – John 16:33 ❤

  4. MaryAnn

    John 16:33
    New Century Version
    33 “I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.”
    How wonderfully beautiful is this verse! I looked it up right away & noticed NCV states: “be brave”. Thank you for this inspiring post & poem. Such deep abiding faith (Emily & you)!
    My first reaction was the gorgeous sunrise, that you captured. Early in the morning, praising our Lord looking out at your lovely backyard! Praying for Matt & for your peace as you navigate all that is needed for his care. Much love!

    • Thank you, MaryAnn. I’m so happy you are here with us! ❤

  5. Good morning, Julia! Thank you for sharing both the poem and info about the PBS Masterpiece series. I will look that one up. Hopefully, as a PBS supporter, I may have access to it.
    I love that poem. As my parents age, and one uncle recently passed, I feel I am looking more toward that future, and I’m glad to read Emily’s encouraging words. They help confirm my conviction, which is comforting.
    I hope that you are well!

    • Susan, by now you know about my blackout, fall, and the severe facial trauma that will take at least a year of reconstruction to get back to anything even close to what I once looked like. I say all this to say: oddly, this new post, like so many, was written mostly for me. I could not have known at the time, how soon I would have to prove it true. Yet I say boldly (in print, even if I can’t say it aloud in intelligible words). “No coward soul is mine…” And I must add: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” I know you are holding me close in prayer right now!

  6. It’s been awhile my friend!! I love the early morning light through the trees. My journey continues as I care for my ex landlady. I live with her now after selking my mobile home in one day! Praying for you and Matt dear sister of Light!☀🛐☀

    • Cherie, bless you as you continue to care for others. I know your ex landlady is so grateful for your help. Caring friends are pivotal to our survival in so many ways. Keep shining that Love and Light!

  7. Praying for you after the terrible fall!🛐🎆🛐

    • Thank you, Cherie! ❤

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  1. Faith Shines – Nelsapy

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