It's that time of year. Time to clear out "stuff" that you've kept too long. Time to simplify. That's what I spent this afternoon doing. I found a couple of old notebooks that I'd written in - for now I'll focus on one.
I had the privilege of attending the TOLI program for Holocaust Studies a few years ago and I found my notebook from that study. Inside were two poems - one personal and one written in response to a video of Irving Roth. It was an assignment that could be used in the classroom - but I'll share mine here. Why? Because I don't want them to stay inside that notebook and never be shared, especially the one written in response to Irving Roth's story.
Write that I...(personal poem - I think I was thinking of my kids when I wrote this)
When you write my story,
write that I brought hope.
Write that I saw beauty in the dark places
and that I helped you see it too.
Write that I wanted to see you walk with God
in ways that I could only imagine.
That I believed in you and His purpose in you.
Write that I trusted Him to guide you
because I knew I would fail - and yet still I tried.
Write that I loved you more than life.
Now for the one written in response to Irving Roth's story. He is a Holocaust survivor. (Here's a link to one version on Youtube - Irving Roth)
Write that I...
Write that I was a child - just a child.
I loved to run and play and life was good
oh so good.
The whole world was my oyster - what could possibly go wrong?
The Nazi's - that's what could go wrong.
Write that it started slowly - I don't think anyone saw -
Didn't anyone see?
They took away our humanity.
At the park - Jews and dogs not allowed?
Don't go out at night - it's for my own safety?
Wear this star - so that all might know me.
Don't you mean so that they might forget my name?
Write that they took my friends and left us to wonder where they had gone.
They forced us to run to safety - only no place was really safe.
Only a few would stand up for us - the rest just turned away.
Turned us over.
Turned and pretended it was not their concern.
After all - we were no more than animals with stars by now.
We didn't even have a name.
Write that I was found and taken away - like a dog to the pound.
My grandparents were "cared for" and taken to the showers,
but that meant I never saw them again.
The final blow - I am a number now. Do they expect me to forget my own name?
There is not hope - until...
One man - a prisoner like me -
brought thought back into our reach.
The wires faded away and for a moment we were free.
Only a moment, for as far as I could see, the world has forgotten -
gone blind to what anyone can see - lost its morality.
Write that I didn't believe in miracles anymore -
but thank God the miracles still hadn't given up on me.
Write that a few looked up to see
and because of them, I lived to tell you
look up and see.