I dislike September. If something bad is going to happen, it always seems to happen in September. Green Day had it right when they sang “Wake me up when September ends.”
Besides September 11th, there have been many things in my own life that have given me this sense of sitting on tenterhooks waiting for the next disaster. My grandfather, the most enigmatic man I’ve ever known, passed away September 15th, the day before Hurricane Ivan slammed into Pensacola (my hometown). Unfortunately, it took a while to find out where his body had been taken after the storm, much less get a funeral together. My family had to arrange our own flowers for his casket. With power out in the city we couldn’t use fresh flowers. So, we bought silk flowers in Jacksonville. I still have one in a shadow box. I should have know he would have gone out with a bang. Nothing was ever simple with that man.
Several years later, my husband’s grandfather passed in September. His death wasn’t as dramatic, but the impact was felt as severely. I miss his jokes and inappropriate humor. I seemed to have been the only one in which he would share that particular characteristic.
Enough about me. It’s not really what I wanted to talk about. I just finished reading a wonderful book, The Butterfly and the Violin, by Kristy Cambron. Part of the book takes place during WWII. And it got me to thinking, as any good book should do.
When I was a child I did a social study project on Auschwitz, and during this project I interviewed two survivors of this horrible place. It was one of those moments that changes the way you view the world and the people that inhabit this place. It can be shocking to realize the evil that exists. I’ve always “known” that evil exists. You cannot grow up Catholic and not know. Even the church accepts it. However, true evil, the evil that infects so easily and breaks down every barrier without hardship is completely and utterly terrifying. Oh, and guess when little ole Hitler marched into Poland? September 1, 1939. Evil and terror, such as he created, is incomprehensible to me. Was he even human?
How do you survive such unholy terror? It tries to destroy everything that makes you human. But that’s the thing, being human. Our will to survive is simply amazing. But even more fantastic is the ability of the human spirit to see and create beauty and love in even the most dire of circumstances. And I believe the reason we can is because of God. He is there to help us see and feel it. We just have to let Him.
I wonder sometimes if those moments are special because they are so simple.
Do you think the people held prisoner in the “work” camps could even see a sunset? Or did the ashes from the crematoriums block out the sun? Could God’s golden sun break through, for even just a moment?
Was the silence of snow on golden leaves precious? Or did it feel like doom knowing that winter was ready to bleach out the color?
How in God’s name did they do it? How did they keep their soul from wasting away behind barbed wire?
To put it simply, I don’t know how they did it. I’m just glad that they did.
I wonder what their first sunrise was like after their liberation? Do they remember it or was it just enough to know that they would be seeing another one?
I told my husband today that if anything like that ever happened again I hoped that I would be as courageous as the survivors, or as honorable as the people that helped to hide them or assisted in their escape. Not because I want to be important, but because I want to be the person that God wants me to be.
As for September, well, I suppose there has to be a low before the high. Maybe I’ll use this month to look for the simple beauty in watching the heat dissipate and the clear air reveal all the wonders of the gold season.
The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.
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