We went to the Holocaust museum in Farmington Hills, MI.
When first pulling into the parking lot and seeing the massive center, the exterior looked like beautiful, abstract art.
I felt a sort of trepidation approaching the building, as if we would be walking into a holy, sacred place.
Upon entering, the first thing my eyes saw was a WWII box car.
It was a surreal moment standing before this massive display. As I was reading the history that took place in the many cars like this, I could almost hear the faint cries crying out from the grave.
From beginning to end, the rich heritage you learn about, the persecution the Jewish people been subjected to throughout time, you could spend hours upon hours viewing each piece of history, if not days.
I wish I would have been able to take more pictures but was only given permission at the very end.
I began to pursue a study of the Holocaust maybe 12 years ago. Our family had lost our beloved Aunt Judy the year before to an aneurysm and I was still grieving her. While I was reminiscing memories of her I remembered she was an English teacher and the different topics she would teach to her student each year. She was very passionate about teaching about the history of the Holocaust. I began to read every book I could get a hold of. I devoured them like I was back in school. Maybe it was a way to connect with her but I was truly captivated by each story, feeling somewhat of a bond with each story-teller. I certainly don't think the suffering of my heart paled in comparison to their sufferings but when I read Rob Bell's book, Drops Like Stars, it gave language for what I was feeling all these years, "suffering unites."
An up and coming website asked me to write a review on his book, Drops, but they got tied up in focusing on other projects and told me their website was on hold for now. Oh sure I was a little disappointed, because who doesn't want their work to be viewed by a larger audience, but I'm okay with it now. I actually thought I had posted my review already but when I looked, there it sat unpublished, so I just now pressed publish smh. Here it is if you'd like to read it.
This beautiful mosaic was hanging on the wall all by itself.
The mere sound of the name brings warm, fuzzy feelings of comfort. She was a beautiful human being. Kind and generous. I remember when I was little she'd bring over groceries to help out, my mom was a single mom and she struggled putting food on the table for my sis and I. She then would take groceries to other's in need. I was amazed at her generosity, even at a young age.
Then as I stood looking at the intricate detail of this mosaic, knowing now what 'Jude' meant during that time, Under the Nazi regime, Jewish people were forced to wear identifiers such as the Star of David armbands or badges. 'Jude' is German for Jew.
I was enveloped by the tragedy and suffering they endured. But God...He's great at taking those very painful times and turning them around. Flowers can grow in deserts, the sun still shines in the arctic cold, and magnificent looking creatures in the deepest, darkest parts of the sea.
I recently came across this Facebook memory and it served as a wonderful reminder of God's faithfulness in a time that I was struggling to see any kind of hope.
"What the enemy meant for evil, God, who is Sovereign, can take it and turn it for god. What the enemy meant for your destruction, God is Sovereign, and His word is truth. He is the Potter and He can take your brokenness, the pieces and make a masterpiece. He has already written your story. He sees the beginning and the end. Lean into Him, trust Him, with your whole heart, broken pieces and all. He is the One who is guiding you, even if it looks as if despair has taken you over. The light shines brightest in the darkness. His love is being poured over you. Let it wash over you. Let it wash over your brokenness. Let it fill the gaps, the deepest places of your heart. He is waiting, ever so patiently, lovingly, calling out to you. Let the Laver refresh you and cleanse you, fill you up so that you may be poured out for His glory."
In Genesis 50:20a Joseph says to his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." The Israelites were saved because of their hatefulness towards their brother. They had no idea it was all apart of God's plan.
Seems somewhat of an oxymoron but Cynthia Occelli explained it best, "For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction."
I have always loved the Jewish people. I've always felt a kindredness to them. Maybe it's because my father's grandparents were Jewish. But no matter the reason they are in my heart.
If you ever get a chance to visit the museum, I highly recommend it.
Take your time, you'll feel like you're walking on Holy ground.
Peace and Love,