Two years ago I was in Poland. I had taken a weekend pilgrimage from Scotland to Krakow to see Auschwitz, Oscar Schindler’s factory, and the old Jewish quarter. I had dreamed of going since I was 13 when my parents took me to see “Schindler’s List.” It is the most important trip I have ever taken in my travels abroad.
There are some who do not believe that the Holocaust even took place, and many of today’s youth do not know about this time in our history. It is all there — proof of those who were there and survived, countless stories and accounts of those who did not. Their voices should be heard and never forgotten.
I purchased over a dozen books full of testimonials and history, most of which could only be found at the local gift shops there. I had planned on using much of the information for research towards a dissertation I was going to write on traumatic experiences and the ways in which people recover.
As heart-wrenching as many of the details were, what stood out most were moments of kindness, generosity, sacrifice, and love shared between those in captivity — in the midst of the death and horror they faced. There were even several accounts of guards whose hearts were moved to protect those they held captive.
Some testified that they were able to preserve a sense of peace even in the constant state of loss and grief that faced them. Regardless of dark surroundings, they kept a lantern burning and guarded the flame.
And that made me think, “If those precious souls in the very center of the Holocaust could do so, then why should we not do the same in this time of our uncertain future.”
We need to guard our safe places now.
Wherever it may be, whatever it is — Guard it. You will need it for the days ahead.
If it’s the still, small voice of your spiritual comforter, keep your mind open and in tune to it. If it’s a hand you hold, hold it tighter and don’t let go. If it’s the laughter in your child’s eyes and the hope new babes carry in their hearts — gaze a little longer.
If it’s kindred spirits, beloved friends who illuminate your life with their essence and anchor you with their connection, whether near or distant, keep them close. If it’s the kindness of strangers and the stories of humanity proving itself stronger than all that rails and wars against it, remember these.
As we watch the tides swell, let’s not allow the crashing waves to quench the light Love wants to bring. We need to see it reflected back in one another.
Let it be Love that centers your safe place. Whatever comes, whatever changes or stays the same, whether we watch it all fall or rise — there’s a place in the storm where we can take refuge.
Whatever that might be for you, grasp it, hunker down there, and don’t let go.
Let’s steady ourselves, brace ourselves on the solid foundation that Love offers. There’s an unrelenting, insurmountable strength found in its presence.
Corrie Ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor, saw her beloved family murdered in front of her. Yet, she emerged with a heart still steadied by Love. She spent the rest of her life sharing her story with others and admonishing them to love and to forgive.
She guarded her safe place and allowed it to preserve her.
”Love is larger than the walls which shut it in.” — Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place