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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Though I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of a Death Camp

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Auschwitz I gas chamber memorial
Well it's been a day later since I've watched "Schindler's List" and thoughts are still whirling around in my head.  There are so many analogies for live that I've gleaned from this movie.  My thoughts go to the scene where the women find themselves at the death camp at Auschwitz. What had happened is that Schindler had arranged for his factory workers to be shipped over to Czechoslovakia in trains. The men got there fine but women's train was misrouted to the death camp at Auschwitz. What a scare that must have been for them! To be under the assumption that you're off to a new life and safety working for Schindler and then have the door opened and to be herded like cattle into what would be become one of the most infamous places in the history of World War 2.

After I watched the movie, I watched some interviews on that DVD of survivors who were Schindler Jews who went through that awful experience. They said that the smell of death was at that camp. And in the movie, when the women got off the train, there was these things falling from the sky that look like snow. Only it wasn't snow, it was ashes. Ashes of the bodies that were burned after the people had been gassed. There were ashes coming out of the chimneys eternally that would blanket the ground and the people there the way snow blankets the ground on Christmas day.

But even at that camp with death happening all around them, Schindler made sure these people had his mark on them, ensuring that none of them would go through the gas chambers. Even though he wasn't around physically, his presence was there in the background making all the necessary arrangements to ensure their safety and survival in such a horrific place. Little did they know that they were actually in line to take a shower even while others were in a line for the gas chambers.

And there will be times in our lives that we feel like we are in a death camp. You feel made to sit and watch everything die around you, whether it would be physically, spirtually, emotionally, and financially. But if you've lived a life of faith and you're going through this after doing everything that you feel like you're meant to do, then guess what? Society and everyone may be crumbling around you but God has you in the OTHER line where just when you think you're at the end, suddenly fresh clean water comes out of those showerheads and bring you life.

It was really inspiring watching the accounts of the survivors and learning the story of Schindler. And I want to point out here that this did not have a fairy tale ending like we see in movies.  After the war, Schindler never got back on his feet financially. He had several failed businesses and even moved to Argentina for a period to do farming (good choice for a country!!!!! LOL).  He never again had the prosperity that he once enjoyed during the time of the Nazi regime and ended up dying broke and penniless.

And all of us who are used to fairy tale endings in movies are probably saying "That's not the way it's supposed to be!"  Well, yes and no. If you counted his value in his monetary assets, then I suppose you could say that he lost out. But if you see his assets and investments as being the lives of people, then I will be happy to report that his "assets" continue to increase and grow even as we speak as the descendants of the Schindler Jews multiply and bring forth new generations

I wonder, what my legacy will be?  What will I have for "assets" when my time on earth is done? Within the past few days, my ESL books have started to arrive.  These are the best quality books possible for teaching latinos english. It cannot be bought in South America, only in North America.  Some of these books are about $20 USD, not very much in our currency.  And the school has told me that they would like 2 books to use.  So in monetary value, it's about $40 worth of stuff that I'm donating to them (I bought alot more ESL material but some of it is for gifts to give others and some are tools I can use to give private instruction)

All my talk about going to Argentina and all the things that I'm going to do there may sound glamorous but there are alot of things I had to give up and alot of life changes I had to make to be able to do what I do. I basically had to trade in financially security for this great adventure. For some of you who are reading this, my words are going to hit home.  But when I look at Schindler's life and see that even after giving up everything, he wasn't compensated for it in his lifetime.

Sometimes I feel I can relate to this man, he saw a cause and gave every last penny for it. At the end of the move as he is preparing to escape, there is a scene where everyone surrounds him and he is talking to them. And he is crying and saying "I didn't do enough! I didn't do enough!" He then looks at his car and says "I didn't need that car, I could have got 10 more people." He takes his nazi pin which is made of gold and says "I could have got 2 more people" And he is doing this in the presence of more than 1100 people who were standing there grateful to him.

After world war 2, Schindler was declared a righteous man by the Jewish Council and was invited to plant a tree in Israel as a way of honoring him. The tree grows until this very day. In the same way I am planting 2 books valued no more than $40 in the hands of this amazing team of people down in South America. Maybe, just maybe like that tree that Schindler planted, what I am planting now will live on past my lifetime and affect many generations of Argentines and their families.  And at the end of the days, those are the only kind of "assets" that I want under my name and those are the only kind of "investments" that will bring a "return" of eternal value. This to me is the only kind of "return"  that is both worth living and dying for :)

Tango 2 the Moon
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Amorous Alpacas

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