It has always seemed a very bizarre and twisted truth to me that good can come out of even the most horrific and cruel of sufferings. I am not sure that I could have endured the concentration camp tortures that Elie Wiesel survived. However, I believe, like Wiesel, that whatever doesn’t kill you can make you and your message stronger. His personal account of a death wish to accompany his ill father to the grave, his strong conviction that he must bare witness as a survivor of this cruelty, and his return to God all speak of a difficult journey that ended well for him. His inspirational message to the world was the gift of good that came out of one of the most tragic and unforgivable shames in all of history.
In my life, I have suffered small, but significant personal loses that seemed unfair at the time. For instance the death of my great grandmother seemed to me an unfair taking of a good life. Although she was ninety four years of age, i felt she still had much to offer this world, and more specifically, me. It wasn’t until I was chosen to read a special scripture passage at her funeral, that I found the good that was to come from her passing. To this day, my favorite scripture passage that guides my life is the very one i read at her funeral: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things Love never fails.” ( 1 Corinthians 13). I have survived that sadness of her death, and I came through that difficult journey with renewed hope. Like Wiesel, I too learned that we can bear all things with God’s help. I too believe that I have an obligation to bear witness to my story.
Elie Wiesel said, “ I believe that whatever we receive we must share.” As terrible and sickening as the injustices were that Elie suffered in the concentration camps, his sharing of those horrors allowed others to learn and be inspired by his survival of this misery. By sharing the hopeful message that I learned from my favorite scripture passage with others, I intend to similarly inspire and give others reason to believe that there is one greater than themselves that helps us all survive the worst of times.
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