The summer before sixth grade I convinced the librarian that except for the sports section I had read every book in the children’s department of the Bedford Indiana Public Library. She took me upstairs to the Young Adult area and said I could check out anything my mother approved. My mother did not censor my reading. Until that summer, reading had felt to me something like a magic trick I did over and over to entertain myself. Words were puzzles. I solved one book-ful and picked up another. Within months I had read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, To Kill A Mockingbird, and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr – and the game was over, along with a part of my childhood I was sad to lose.
Judith Kerr’s book touched me most deeply, so I went looking for more, and I found Elie Wiesel before the end of high school. I’ve read nearly everything he published. His disappointment in God has tempered my preaching in ways I cannot describe. His disappointment in and hope for humanity have made me, I pray, a slightly braver human being than I would be otherwise.
I was truly glad for him when I read of his death on Saturday. Always, in nearly everything he wrote, he spoke of the burden of surviving. He carried it – the burden – with such solemn dignity, honesty, and clarity for nearly seventy years. He did not shrink from the terrible task of bearing witness to evil. I pray his spirit is finally at rest. I pray to be faithful to his memory and to his teaching.
Hopefully your long weekend was good. I look forward to seeing you soon.
~ peace & prayers,