I just read Elie Wiesel’s incredible book, “Night.”  I’ve never read any of the work of this Nobel Peace Prize winner before, but I’m glad I read this book, even though it rips through my heart and mind at nearly every page with the horror of it all.  I don’t usually read things that deal with the darkness, the incredible inhumanity that we can exhibit to each other.  It hurts too much.  It makes me understand why even God might turn His head away when His children have become cruel and soulless.  This kind of reading is heartbreaking for me, with the sobering aspect of it, the story of millions of innocent people subjected to unimaginable indignities so that death itself is a gift. I can only then imagine how important it is for those who bring the light, who work in the day, to become even more willing to stick to the job.

The images of the Holocaust are some of the bleakest history the world has known, and Wiesel has painted the picture of his own survival through it all in such a way, that we can still hope for the daylight, still wait for good to rise up again.  Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

One question that keeps coming through in Weisel’s narrative is the one asking “Where is God? Why is God silent about what is happening here?”  Greater theological minds than mine wrestle with this question even now, but the only answer that makes sense to me is that sometimes God allows us to see that left to our own devices, we stoop to our darkest aspects.  The question that looms in my mind after reading a book like this one, is “Where am I? Why am I silent about the darkness even as I see it in the world around me?  Where are we when God needs us to be the light, to balance the possible outcomes for the greater good of all mankind?  Big questions!  Tough questions!

You hold a candle in your hand and each day you have a chance to let it shine.  You bring that light to many people in such a way that the darkness gives over to the blissful joy of sunshine and blessing.  What we can offer to each other, turns the night into day, the sorrow into joy, the opportunity for God to truly “shine His face upon us and be gracious to us and give us peace.”

One light at a time, one willing soul to another, let’s keep shining, for this part of history can never be allowed to repeat itself.  You’re the answer to someone’s darkness, the light that will bring them new joy.

The difference you make is “night and day.”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Nice one Mom– what is this radical reading you’re up to? Night was required reading in my eigth grade English class, and again sometime in college. I think his work is especially interesting when you look at everything he’s done after writing Night to call attention to international human rights, and to link the Holocaust to other nations where racism and biggotry have fueled so many atrocities, even decades later.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Beck…I’m glad I finally read this book. There’s so much I have to learn. Peace of any sort comes with a big price. Those of us who have it must always honor its presence. At least that is how a book like this one makes me feel. Hugs to you.

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