Poem: Anne


Just like every

teenage girl

hating her mother

adoring her father

(knock knock–run and hide)

confounded by her

changing body

as her clothing shrank

(keep quiet–voices down)

With her big voice

and own ideas

all alone and feeling

unloved

(thump thump–what was that?)

Just a girl

with a yellow star

who said what she felt

(Move that there!)

So the world would

live the truth

(Come with us!)

Forever

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Sorry I Just Had To…


I’m not usually very political on my blog, but it’s getting harder and harder not to be these days. I turn on the radio and listen for a few minutes and either get ill or have to turn it off. Every time I hear something to do with our president-elect (sorry but I will not give power to him by mentioning his name), and feelings of such sorrow come over me.

Today I heard a story on NPR where a Gay man was interviewed in Orlando. He is a prominent figure in that town and the reporter was recapping the Orlando massacre, how the city has handled it, how this man feels now in Orlando as a Gay man and as one in general.

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While he felt there has been an outpouring of support in the city, he said his biggest fear is in the future or this country’s attitude because of the election. Since the vote, he has experienced even more hate crimes and said there is more fear in the Gay community. My heart just sank. It doesn’t surprise me though….

The radio is just heavy with the news of death everywhere in the world: major world powers teetering on the edge of hate ready to explode, while others are in the thick of raging wars already. Innocent people trapped between warring extremes desperate to escape somewhere, anywhere safe.

And now so many places, including potentially our country, shutting our doors to these people. It sickens me. Our fellow humans! What is the difference from them and the Jews in Germany? Nothing! Since when have we become so narrow? Why is there so much hate in people’s hearts now? Hate against anyone different… But the sad irony is: we are all the same!!!

Cut us open: we all bleed, break down our cells, we all share the same DNA; hurt us, we all cry; we all have the same bodies, bones, skin, brain. It is crazy to me that some people look at cultural differences, or skin colors, gender orientations and to kill over these things? I mean, seriously: think about this….

When will we all just think about ourselves as HUMANS?

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All the chatter about Christmas…does anyone remember the first five letters in that word? What would He say about this behavior? Hey, I’m not even Christian, and I know!

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Maybe I will be wrong about this all and He-he-who-will-remain-nameless will get his act together and not start another world war. Maybe he will realize you can’t keep opening up your yap all the time and say the first thing that comes out of it just because you feel like it. Maybe congress will actually do something smart for once and realize what a blessed mess we’re in and hopefully not undo so many of the decent things that are in place just to show they can.

Any maybe Santa is real too…

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The Choice


Recently I’ve been reading a very moving book entitled “Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed” by Philip P. Hallie.  It’s about a small French village called Le Chambon during the Nazi Occupation and “how good happened there.” They helped thousands of Jewish and other refugees escape the horrors being razed upon them.  They did it not for money and not because they were organized by any group. Quite the contrary. One man in particular stood out: A Protestant minister named André Trocmé  was the mover and shaker for the movement. His powerful messages both from the pulpit and every day about loving all men rang true for every villager.

Not one person betrayed the refugees. They hid them in their homes, taught them in schools and didn’t come out and lie about hiding them when the Gestapo came into town. There was a system of alerting those hidden when there would be a raid so they could hide in the nearby woods. Some of those helping even died in the cause. And some took extremely risky chances and lead some to freedom into Switzerland.

Trocmé and two others spent time in an internment camp themselves and wouldn’t leave, even when they were allowed, because they refused to sign a doctrine that stated they would follow the French rules. These rules were aligned with the German rules they believed were cruel and went against the laws of a higher power.

So many that would have surely died were saved because of this village. And while only a fraction of the millions murdered, it still is an amazing beacon of hope during the darkest of times. France for the most part was not a safe place for Jews or anyone aligned with Jewish people. So the simple people of Le Chambon showed such depth of character, high ethical beliefs and an ability to move beyond fear for what is right and just.

It made me pause and think: what would I do in such a similar instance? I’ve always thought of myself one of high ethics and believe we are all one. While not a religious person, I certainly feel we are all cut from the same mold. The people from this village took it so far as to not even hate the Nazis and believe in non-violence always. This is actually what helped them in many instances with the Gestapo.

If push came to shove, would I put my life on the line to save others in such a time as was seen here? Would I put my family, my community and everything I had ever known in jeopardy to save people I didn’t know because I believed it was right? And would I try to get others around me to do the same? I have always thought I would.

I would because to live in a world where to run from helping and turning my back on others, is not a world in which I would choose to live anyway. If I had to stand by and watch my fellow human beings march down a street–most of whom were my neighbors–to certain death, then I might as well be dead too. I would at least have to try to help and risk dying myself.

The beauty of Le Chambon was the simplicity of so much of it all. No real planning. The right hand never knew what the left hand was doing–and this was actually critical. That way if one house was caught, they couldn’t divulge information about another because they honestly didn’t know. They never even knew who provided the false identification cards–to this day it is unknown.  And they never truly and came out and lied about harboring Jews. They would just say things like: What is a Jew? Because they believed they were just men like they themselves were.

And ultimately these people only did what is right. When Hallie interviewed them years later and asked why they put themselves at such risk, he said they would shrug and say things like: well of course it’s what you would do! They needed help! Trocmé and others were recognized by Israel many years later as Righteous Among Nations as was the whole town.

In other parts of the world genocide continues. Human beings continue to slaughter other human beings because they are ‘different’. We are the only species where this happens. But within these pockets of death and inhumanity, there always seems to groups of people who rise above. The Quakers, some Catholic organizations, American Red Cross and many other groups that have gone in to help the helpless for years.

Does this mean there is hope for us? For me? I can only wish that I would rise to my best self as the people of Le Chambon did during the dark days of the Nazi occupation and put my life at risk to save others. And hopefully motivate others to do the same.