I read a blurb on Meryl Streep recently where she was talking about faith...obviously tied to her new role in Doubt...that really spoke to me. She was able to put into words many of the thoughts I have had for the last several years.
"I've always been really, deeply interested in faith, because I think I can understand the solace that's available in the whole construct of religion," says the 59-year old actress [author's note - what the hell difference does it make how old she is?] who grew up Presbyterian. But despite being consumed with what she calls a "yearning for the ineffable, for real true certainty," Streeps has found little of that solace herself. "I really don't believe in the power of prayer, or things would have been avoided that have happened, that are awful. So it's a horrible position as an intelligent, emotional, yearning human being to sit outside of the available comfort there. But I just can't go there." So where does she find consolation in the face of aging and death? "Consolation? I'm not sure I have it. I have a belief, I guess, in the power of the aggregate human attempt. In love and hope and optimism - you know, the magic things that seem inexplicable."
The Week, Dec 26, 2008-Jan.9, 2009
As excerpted originally from article by Mick Brown in the London Daily Telegraph.
As a woman who really loves great words and phrases I'm struck dumb by her ability to express herself here. I really hope these are her true words and not a publicists well-crafted message. I find the sentence I kept returning to the most was "So it's a horrible position as an intelligent, emotional, yearning human being to sit outside the available comfort there." Those words captured my feelings exactly. And I just adore the phrase, "the power of the aggregate human attempt", which gave me a way to position my faith and hope in the human experience rather than the divine.
All that being said, I will return to church on December 24 for my annual pilgrimage and I will find I cannot contain the tears when my dear friend Cheri sings her solos of O Holy Night, Mary Did You Know, and the congregation and choir combine for the singing of Silent Night by candle light. And for just a few moments I will once again seek that solace and experience the "yearning for the ineffable".
Thank you Ms. Streep for your thoughtful words.