By Carley Dangona
SOUTHWICK – Last month marked the release of “My Walk with Christ, A Spiritual Journey,” a book written by resident Brunhilde Luken.
This book is the third Luken has published. The piece features Luken’s poetry and selections from Scripture. The contents of the book were compiled over several years and reflect Luken’s own walk within her faith. Luken is also an artist and her previous books also featured some of her paintings. Her painting, of the same name, serves as the cover for this book.
“Each poem tells me where and what I went through in my life as I wrote it. ‘My Walk’ is very special to me. It reminds me of all the ups and downs in my life. This is what my life is about: my walk with the Lord. It is not a novel. It is a true story,” she said.
This book is actually a second edition. Luken explained, “‘My Walk with Christ,’ a spiritual Journey’ was published through Tate Publishing Co. On the front of the cover it says poetry, so my book was put in the poetry section. After my book was published I soon became aware of my mistake. This was in 2007.”
She continued, “After a discussion with Tate Publishing about a second edition to my book, I decided this would be a good time to have my book under ‘meditations.’ This is what I intended it to be from the beginning. I improved my book by adding about 40 pages, with some more detail of my journey and republished it with Tate Publishing Co. in November 2013. This time it is placed under ‘meditations.’”
Luken detailed her inspiration to write this book of meditations. “I felt I had a story to tell, how the Lord took me and shaped me and taught me who He is. I kept a journal from early on in my teen years. During the time we had small children life was too busy I did not allow myself time to write. While walking closely with the Lord I experienced many visions and dreams where I felt our Lord’s guidance, direction for my life. I had the need to pick up my journal and write again on a daily basis, my visions, my dreams, things happening in my life, joys and sorrows, anger and love and the importance of forgiving. The Lord showed me His guiding light, I had to follow, I had to learn that He is in charge, no matter what. He taught me how to trust Him fully. My journal became my daily conversations with the Lord. Sometimes I literally woke up with the full poem on my lips. I kept the journal by my bed not to forget to write my visions down,” she said.
When asked what she hoped readers would gain from the book, Luken responded, “As they read my book and meditate on the words in my book, I [would] like the reader to truly feel the presence of the Lord. I would feel so blessed if reading my book will bring the reader a step closer, or much closer to the Lord. I love the Lord and I would like the reader to feel that love in his life. I also like my book to be an inspiration to the reader to take a closer look at his or her life and look for the presence of the Lord. I like the reader to feel the love and forgiveness of the Lord. Maybe it will inspire the reader to share their story. Hopefully by sharing our stories and having more understanding for one another we can take part in creating a more loving world.”
Luken, a grandmother of eight and a great-grandmother of one, grew up in Germany in a family of seven children and experienced World War II firsthand.
“I was born in Saarbruecken in 1938. World War II started shortly later and Saarbruecken was bombed. We were forced to move and this took us to Alsace Lorraine where we had some distant family. We were later evacuated to Rieneck. After the war my father was still a prisoner of war. My mother returned with the seven of us to be closer to our family. Once my father returned from the war life became more normal. We attended church on a regular basis. The war had a big impact on family life,” Luken shared.
“Very early in life I learned that humans are not always what they seem to be. Something happened and I was very disappointed at a young age. I cried out to the Lord and He became my best friend. I studied for first communion and simply loved that the Lord send his own son to earth to teach us and befriend us. This was so incredible, wonderful. No matter where I was, I could turn inside and have a conversation with Jesus. Nobody knew, I was simply called a dreamer. Each time I went to church it was like going to a party. I was so excited,” she said.
Luken described herself, “I feel like a pebble in the river of life, there are small ones, some with rough edges, some big, some strong, some sharp. They were all needed to shape me and help me to become who I am today. In the process of my walk with the Lord I became a very loving and forgiving person. Every moment of my life I try to stay in the presence of the Lord. I love people. I also always send out our Lord's blessings to people I meet during the day, especially the needy and the sick. Every time a negativity enters my mind I quickly apologize to the Lord and send a prayer instead.”
She moved to the United States with her husband in 1959, settling in Omaha, Neb., where their three children were born and raised. The couple has lived in other states, but settled in Southwick in 2012, even after returning to Germany and living in Malaysia for a time. They lived in West Springfield and Marlborough previously.
She has been an active member of The Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester since 2007.
“Having moved away does keep me from attending monthly meetings. I am just not the youngest anymore. I am still involved and write for their blog on a regular basis and I enjoy my connection from a distance. Besides writing for the blog I was simply a contributing member in arising issues for discussions,” Luken stated.
What’s next for Luken? “I am in the process of preparing for a new story for Lent for the Commission for Women of the Diocese of Worcester that will help prepare you for Lent and the experience of Easter, the celebration of the Risen Christ. I will write and paint,” she said.