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Light in My Darkness

Chrysalis Books, West Chester, 2000.
RRP $18.95

In writing this review, one is struck by the number of metaphors we use in every day parlance which relate to seeing, vision, imagery and light.
By any stretch of the imagination, this book is exceptional in its perception and the light it sheds on the world of one who lived with (so-called) disabilities. Light in My Darkness, is an expanded edition of Helen Keller’s My Religion, originally published in 1927.
The present title is very appropriate, as Keller herself longed to be "a light-bringer to the souls of (those) who are lost in the horror of great darkness" (p. xv). Helen Keller was able to live positively in that dark (and in her case, silent) world because of the illumination she had found and that she shares in this book through her discovery of Emanuel Swedenborg’s teachings on Christianity. As Keller’s spiritual guide, she describes Swedenborg’s writings as "my light and a staff in my hand, and by his vision splendid I am attended on my way" (p. 20).
This is the attitude in which her book is offered, and it has the potential to be used as a guide for anyone living in spiritual darkness as well. It is a book centred on light. As its editor, Ray Silverman, points out: Keller’s style was that of a "Prose Poet," who wrote "in bursts of radiant light" (p. xiii).
This is an elaborate, Victorian styled work. The author extensively discusses revelation, and particularly God’s self revelation, especially through the lens of Swedenborg.
If you are ready for an enlightening, earnest, old-time spirituality, this is for you.

Reviewed by Wendi Sargeant, a Uniting Church Minister in supply at West End