"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live"
For the second time in 2 weeks, we spent the afternoon at Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem is the holocaust memorial here in Jerusalem. They have done a wonderful job of honouring the victims of the Holocaust.
Having said that, it is one of the hardest places I have ever visited.
When I was 16, I went to a concentration camp in Germany, called Dachau. I cried for the lost and felt a sense of rightness for those tears.
Today, and last week, I was again hit with that loss. The sheer number of Jews killed is staggering. There is a Children's memorial, where voices continually say the names and ages of children lost. Endless names.
My heart breaks.
As you walk through the museum, you are hit by images, stories, facts, faces and almost all of them end in death.
Death by gas, death by hanging, death by medical experiments, death by gunshot, death by starvation.
Death, death, death.
It starts by breaking my heart, making me want to turn around a march right out.
"No thanks, I don't want any of your heartbreak today, thankyouverymuch!"
I make myself deal with it, shed the tears, continue walking.
But it doesn't get better.
Its raw pain, hopelessness, like a heavy blanket, draped over my shoulders. I cant escape, nor do I really want too. These people went through this. They were stripped naked, humiliated, robbed and murdered. The least I can do is feel a little bit of that pain, remember them, honour them with some tiny slice of attention and mourning.
Here, their stories will be told. And I, for one, will listen.
Even if it leaves me in tears, even if its hard to hear.
As I walk, I pray. I ask God where He is in all of this. I thank Him that we are never without hope, that I never have to live a day without Him. I praise Him for His provision, so fully aware of how blessed I am. Its hard to find complaints about my life when I see it from this view.
"The Silent Cry"
"The Death March"
Im thankful for what I see, no matter how hard, because I believe God will use it to grow more compassion for those around me.
"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."