February 28, 2012
Fierce Joy is a medical mystery, a love story, and a spiritual adventure. Ellen Schecter had everything she ever wanted: a loving marriage, two delightful children, and a career she loved writing children’s books and television. Then her life shattered when she was diagnosed with a painful, potentially fatal disease. Fierce Joy, tells how she discovered how to be sick without suffering.
Illness is the armature, but not the sole focus, of her story. It propels her into a quest for new meanings as she learns to listen to her body, rediscover her soul, and find healing even when a cure is impossible. Plagued with loss after loss, she plunges deeper into her Jewish heritage and its wisdom, learning Hebrew and Torah cantillation and becoming a Bat Torah. As she learns to pray, her faltering body drops away like a tattered shawl, and she is flooded with gratitude for what remains. Fierce joy: not a tepid, simple happiness, but one that flames up despite harsh moments. It’s honey from the rock of loss and pain; the ecstasy that burns its flame despite grief and dread; the delight born of small events and loving people.