I was in ninth grade.
It was rated "R."
My mom signed a permission slip.
The librarian made a copy of the tape for me.
Even at 15, I knew my mother wouldn't want to see it.
I was careful to watch before she came home.
The first time I saw the movie,
I was a junior in college.
It was assigned for Sociology of Film.
I was taking a history class on twentieth century Europe.
There was nothing better to do
and it seemed to fir,
so I watched with the girls next door.
There's an old saying,
"In one ear and out the other."
Is it possible for something to go in one eye and out the other?
At fifteen, watching along,
the images flashed before my eyes.
I shed no tears.
I felt no horror.
Presented with the jagged pieces of a bygone era,
I could barely bring myself to shrug.
Six years later,
seated comfortably between two friends,
and wanted nothing more than to un-see.
I saw the cattle cars full of human cargo.
I saw the stripping:
of their candleholders, toothbrushes, eyeglasses, and spoons
of their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters
of their hats, coats, shirts, pants, socks, and shoes
of their dignity...
of their lives.
I saw the people who stood on the train platforms
and those who operated the gas chambers,
the ones who made "selections"
and those who tossed live babies into pits,
too many of whom attended church,
and offered prayers in the name of Jesus.
And I saw the broken man, Oskar,
who knew he hadn't done enough...
that he could never do enough.
I saw and wept and wondered
the questions we all have.
Who made the heart capable of such evil?
What more could one mad expect of himself?
Where was God keeping Moses and Elijah?
When would justice flow down like water?
Why was there silence from heaven?
How how how could God let us be
when it's so obvious we don't know how to get it right?
And I wondered
would I have been capable of the same.
Am I capable of the same?
Could I have made the selections that sent people to death of life?
Would there have been Jews hiding in my basement?
that could not be quenched with tears.
At least for that night, my hope died
because I finally saw.
-I wrote this poem for a class on Spiritual Autobiography. We had a public reading tonight that was sparsely attended, but powerful all the same. If you're wondering where Jesus is in all of this, I have to say that the night I really saw this aw(e)ful movie, Rebecca was Jesus to me. There was no comfort in knowing that nothing had stopped the bureaucracy that slaughtered over 6 million people, but Rebecca lay with me and let me cry and didn't try to pretend it was all okay. I think this particular poem ends appropriately, but there's probably another one in my somewhere about what happened to my hope after that night.
Well, in the past few weeks, lots of interesting and fun things have been happening in my life.
First, I was approached by the editor of Pennsylvania Magazine with a request to use one of the blueberry photos I shot last summer. They don't pay a lot, but the point is that a magazine bought one of my photos!
Next, I got an internship in Oregon. I will be in Salem from the end of May until the middle of August. My housing situation will be better sorted out in the next few weeks, but if I end up with a house all to myself, people will need to visit me.
Then, last Monday, one of my favorite professors here asked me to apply to be a Hebrew TA. We still haven't gotten word yet, but I'm hoping that since a professor asked me to apply, I might have a little extra in.
The very next day, I received a letter in my mailbox notifying me that I'd been chosen to receive the Benjamin Stanton Award, which is given to a Middler who excels in Old Testament studies. It was completely unexpected and wonderful. I sort of bounced all the way to the cafeteria after reading it.
And then, the book sale I was running with a fellow student, brought in just a little over $26,000. Minus expenses, that means we can send nearly $21,000 to fund projects at seminaries overseas.
Most recently, today in fact, I learned that the photo above has been selected as an entry for the Schmap map.
Sorry for tooting my own horn, but I figured some of the people who read this might like to have a newsy post and since I don't feel right posting about the one huge crappy thing going on, I thought I would post the million little things that are going well.