It’s a grim story. It doesn’t begin well, it doesn’t go well, it doesn’t end well. Written in 1918, The Valley of the Squinting Windows was a contemporary view of an Irish village. A village where the people were consumed with guilt, fear, anger, and jealousy that played out in their actions and interactions. A village in the tyrannical grip of the Catholic Church. The name of the book comes from the habit of villagers peeking from behind the safety of their cottage curtains to watch, judge and criticize their neighbors.
It was this book I was reading as Dennis and I watched the election returns. A grim book and a grim future unfolding on the tv screen. When I rang Jack, who had recommended this book, the next day he laughed and added that the hope of the book is that Ireland was able to shake off that tyranny. At the time I didn’t find this very encouraging. It took Ireland decades to emerge from those times. It’s still a work in progress.
Yes, the future is daunting. But squinting windows will not serve us. For when we squint, tyranny wins. When I look back past the dark times of church domination in Ireland’s history to the beginning of the Catholic influence, there is another story entirely. A story of hope and possibility that offers wisdom for our dark times.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org