A book is never finished, says Denis Slattery, author and teacher, only completed when the reader has an imaginal healing.

Such was my experience studying the classical memoir, And There Was Light (1963), written by Jacques Lusseyran. Accidentally blinded when eight years old, he awakens to an inner light that enables him to see.

He writes, “I began to look more closely, not at things but at a world closer to myself, looking from an inner place to one further within, instead of clinging to the movement of sight toward the world outside…”

Totally relying upon this inner light, he went on to excel in his studies, to attract a network of wise friends, to head up a youth resistance group in Nazi-occupied Paris, and to survive Buchenwald. The memoir concludes with his liberation.

Its title serves as a compelling leitmotif, its mystery first depicted in the Genesis creation story. “God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.”

Within this light, however accessed, we thrive.

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