As the time for the opening night of the play we’re working on draws nearer, we are getting busier and busier. And with school starting tomorrow (I can’t believe how this weekend flew by!), it’s going to be more difficult for me to find some quiet time and a place where I can just be present…just BE. Today I worked almost exclusively on lesson planning with a bit of blogging and research on the side.
But one of the awesome things about today was that I was able to hang out with a person who meant a lot to me in my past. We lost touch after high school and only briefly reconnected when I moved back to this area. But through this play, we’ve really been able to reconnect and enjoy good conversation and friendship. Today’s task for the theater was to make the awful badges the Jews were forced to wear during WW2. One thing that became blatantly obvious to me was the fact that many kids don’t know about the Holocaust (or they mistakenly believe it was a hoax), and those that do know about it, treat it like most people treat all of history. “Oh, well, that was then. This is now. It has nothing to do with me and it doesn’t matter.” Um…no. It still matters. We can’t truly grasp the enormity of the lives lost in the concentration camps. We can’t. How do you envision, grasp, the number 6,000,000 in terms of Jewish humans, much less the 11,000,000 total humans who died in those death camps? This play has been very hard for me. Maybe because I’m a mother. Maybe because I consider myself a realist, knowing that nothing stays the same forever and that some changes are very ugly indeed. Maybe it’s because I firmly believe that history does repeat itself, mainly because of human stupidity and ignorance. Maybe it’s because I’m an empath. I feel things very deeply, can put myself in someone else’s shoes, and when I read a story or watch a movie, it’s almost like I’m absorbed into it. I have to be very careful what I read or watch. I don’t know for certain. But I do know I’m going to need a rest when we’re done with “The Diary of Anne Frank.” It’s a story that should never be forgotten. It’s a story that should cut like a knife. And it’s a story that I’m proud to have a part in the telling.
We made star badges today. I’m so thankful those badges were for a play and not for real, right now, in this life. I’m thankful for my freedoms and my rights and I don’t ever want to take those for granted. Those freedoms and rights didn’t just show up one day. It was a lot of hard work to set those up and get them in place, a lot of blood-sweat-tears kind of work. Do any of us even know what that means anymore? I have to wonder… What has been taken from you forcibly at gunpoint today? What loved one was torn out of your arms at gunpoint today? Which loved one did you have to watch die day by day because they didn’t have enough to eat and their body was weakened by sickness that no one would cure? And which one of you had to live the rest of your life knowing your entire family died in the concentration camps in spite of your efforts to save them? So the next time you complain because your cell phone battery died and you can’t shoot the breeze with all your friends…the next time your washing machine breaks down and you have to go to the laundromat…the next time your meal isn’t fixed to perfection at your favorite restaurant…or the next time you deride your neighbor for keeping a watchful eye on the actions of the government, be kind and think smart. It could always, always be worse.
A heavy post indeed today…and many heavy thoughts. These things inspire me, too, though. They are part of who I am and that all goes into my art, my songwriting, everything I create. I don’t expect many likes today. People don’t like to hear about terrible things. But they are just as real as beautiful things. They should not be forgotten.
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ~ Elie Wiesel