Move, Remember, Help

Wednesday night my girlfriend Jenna and I attended a lecture at CSU by Irving Roth. Irving was a survivor of the Holocaust and the Auschwitz death camp. He was ninety years old and was still as sharp and witty as could be. The speech that he gave to us students and members of the community is one that will stick with me the rest of my life. Irving's story had so many details in it that seemed like fiction, only the horror set in when you reminded yourself that he was actually there and those things really did happen. But those parts of violence and hatred weren't even the ones that continue to run through my brain. It was actually all of the positive things he shared with us about his survival and all of the miracles that had to occur in order for him to return home to his family. He taught the crowd to take away so many lessons from his story but there were two in particular that I have taken to heart. 

The first one was to keep moving forward, nomatter the circumstances. Irving experienced hell on Earth for a good portion of his young life. Even though he was starved and worked beyond any normal human's limits, he continued to get up every day and he continued to want to live. Through every moment of weakness and hunger, he confided in his brother, and his brother told him to remember the Psalms. After all that he endured, even after weighing only seventy-five pounds then forced on to two death marches, he kept his faith and he kept praying. Eventually, he persevered long enough to be liberated by American soldiers and made it back home to his parents. This lesson stuck with me so well because I think it is something that everyone struggles with and it is a good reminder that even if you are forced into the worst conditions possible, you can still make it if you just ask for strength and move forward. 

Psalm 118:13-14  I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.

The second lesson that Irving repeated over and over was that we need to help each other. If you have the ability to do something to help someone, do it. He spoke of all the misfortunes that fell upon his people before the war even started. People turned a blind eye or even joined the mob, and not enough people did what they were totally capable of doing. Dark defeated the light during that time. Irving shared the story of how his parents survived. His parents were saved in Budapest by a nurse who was taking care of Irving's father in an advanced coma. The nurse hid his parents in her one-bedroom apartment, along with too many other people, after he miraculously recovered. They avoided the police and the Nazis until the end. The nurse's husband, a Nazi soldier, returned home from war and remained silent to their presence. Someone did something to save lives, even though they did not have the means. Light began to defeat darkness again. Irving encouraged us multiple times not to judge ourselves and others based on religion, race, sex, occupation, etc. He instead encouraged us to embrace the light and to act to defeat the evils of this world. At the end of the day, your wealth, race, or religion don't matter. What really makes a difference in the world is doing small things, learning the facts, and making sure someone's life is improved in some way. 

"My life is an indivisible whole, and all my activities run into another... My life is my message." - Mahatma Gandhi

Brooks Jacobs

Please join us in reading the Daily Texts : Isaiah 33:24 and Romans 5: 1-2

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