There are times that are significant in our lives. Times that reach down and grab our heartstrings and leave us forever changed. It can be a story, a circumstance, a lesson, or perhaps a personal experience. For me it was a simple movie. I’d like to share my experience with you.
Last night I watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I remember learning about the Holocaust when I was in school. I couldn’t tell you exactly how old I was and quite honestly, I don’t really remember too much about it. I knew that Germans hated Jews and there were Concentration Camps. Looking back, I am grateful we didn’t go into depth. The thought of that period of time actually makes me feel sick inside.
For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the story is based around the friendship between two eight year old boys. One is the son of a soldier and the other is a boy trapped inside an extermination camp. To see the world through the innocent eyes of young boys was enlightening. As children, we know no hate. We see others as human beings much like ourselves. We don’t understand how differences in culture, or religion, race, or opinion can make us any different than just being human. If only our hearts and our minds could could be frozen while they are so open and loving.
I look around and I see a world that thrives on hate. People whose hearts have become hard and groups of people that feel the world owes them a favor. Perhaps they feel a sense of entitlement for past discrimination or unjust treatment. It’s easy to keep the flame of anger or revenge going. Once it is lit, it burns easily and spreads quickly. We forget that we are the world, every single one of us. It’s not our superficial actions that decide what we contribute to the world, but yet the truth we hold inside our minds and hearts. What do your thoughts carry? Look around at people you surround yourself with. Do they group together with similar motives for the world? Do they encourage peace and humanity for all or are they caught up in entitlement and anger.
It’s hard to look into the darkness of what lies beneath our skin. We like to present ourselves as being loving, and forgiving, and humane…but are we really? I have done a lot of research since last night when I watched the movie. I couldn’t sleep. I was wishing the truth behind the story was some made up horror flick that could never actually hold any truth. It was a horror story and the gruesome reality behind it has left a tear on my heart. Maybe we don’t learn the details and the depth because it is so gut wrenching to hear. Maybe though, it’s during this time of our innocence we should learn about the atrocities of hate. Perhaps then, we would be less enthusiastic to become it. Maybe we should hear a story that is so painful and unfathomable that we would never want to repeat it on any level.
I have known a fair share of Jewish friends. I have never heard them talk about that horrible time. They don’t rehash it or carry it into their daily lives. They have seemed to move on and be grateful that those times are in the past. What an amazing group of people. How do they do it, go around and not live like the world owes them a favor or reparation? They are role models to all of us. Maybe at the end of the day they see everyone as human, as individuals that share common circumstances, shame, pain, and lessons that unfortunately we have to experience or witness to help our society grow.
We all experience hate, discrimination, and pain. It’s part of our human nature. It’s how you perceive these three things and what you do with them that matters in the end. Remember, you make up the world. What is it you want to contribute? Will it be hate, anger, revenge, entitlement, peace, or
love. Isn’t it amazing we have a choice?