Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lessons from Corrie

A friend of mine and my mother have both been passing along books to me about the Holocaust, some fiction, some autobiographies. It seems several have been published recently. Why now, I'm not sure. Even Arielle has become interested in this time period and has read several books written for children her age. A week or so ago I remembered the classic, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I read this many, many years ago. I decided I would like to read it again and ordered it from the library.

The book is now filled with scraps of paper marking pages I want to return to--to remember and to ponder. I realize I am not just reading about the ten Booms, I am learning about God through the faith of Corrie and the rest of her family. As Corrie's sister Betsie says, "Tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here."

For those who don't know, Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman who, along with her father, the town's reputable watchmaker, and her sister, hid Jews in their home after the Germans invaded Holland. The book tells of remarkable faith, miracles, courage, and tragedy.

On the eve of looming disaster for Holland and for Corrie and her family, Corrie was going to bed one night. "Childhood scenes rushed back to me out of the night, strangely close and urgent. Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. I didn't know then--nor, indeed, that there was any new future to prepare for in a life as humdrum and predictable as mine. I only knew, as I lay in my bed that certain moments from long ago stood out in focus against the blur of years. Oddly sharp and near they were, as though they were not yet finished, as though they had something more to say."

One of Corrie's memories was when she first started school as a little girl. She did not want to go. In fact, she refused to go. Her sisters and her brother ended up leaving her behind when they headed off that morning. Her mother told her to hurry or she would have to cross the street alone. Her father intervened, "Of course she's not going alone!...Corrie is going with me."

Corrie writes, "And with that he took my hat from its peg, wrapped my hand in his, and led me from the room. My hand in Father's!" She recalls happy times with her father. Then, "But this time he was taking me where I didn't want to go! There was a railing along the bottom five steps: I grabbed it with my free hand and held on. Skilled watchmaker's fingers closed over mine and gently unwound them. Howling and struggling, I was led away from the world I knew into a bigger, stranger, harder one..."

That's enough for me to ponder this day.

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