Tuesday, December 8, 2009

She Made a Difference


"What is soul? It's like electricity - We don't really know what it is, but it's a force that can light up a room" Ray Charles.

She was a woman who touched me...an elderly woman who spent the last few days of her life in a hospital bed... I was moved by her gentleness - her gratitude - her kind spirit. She was a fighter....a different kind than me.....but still a fighter. Her friends came to see me....they told me her story - they spoke with admiration...the same admiration I felt when I sat in her presence. 

She had lived in Poland during the war. Her older brother had been thrown in prison. She tried to sneak some home cooked food to him, but was caught and put in prison too. While there, she was beaten and treated cruelly. Finally they released her. The war became worse and conditions in Poland were bad. Parents were frantic wanting their children to be spared. She had been a teacher. She knew the children.  

On her own...alone...she took a number of those kids and escaped Poland, climbing over the mountains. She brought them to the United States but they were turned away. They settled in Mexico. She raised them until they were of age. Most eventually went to live in the United States....she herself came to Canada. 

To look at her....you would never know she was a fighter. You would never think she had been so brave in the face of brutality...or that she had the courage to bring a group of children across the ocean...to a strange land...where she knew no one - alone....

And she couldn't have known how much she touched my life....made a difference...gave me something - gave me a determination not to waste what He did for me. 

I don't want to be afraid to reach out - to make a difference - to take a risk. I don't want to be afraid anymore or live with shame. I've started telling a few close friends pieces of what I've lived. Their reaction is shock - mine is fear that they'll turn away from me. None have so far. 


Some days I feel really confident and strong - other times.....I cringe thinking of people knowing the things that happened.


That elderly woman - her past never went away. It followed her in some ways - pulling and tugging inside.  She befriended a man - similiar to her older brother. He had problems. He couldn't work. He was  like a boy in a man's body. He needed her - but in many ways she needed him. Her friends didn't understand - why would she bother with him? She had the respect of so many - a great woman - a wonderful teacher. I understood.


We're shaped by what we lived....The hurts, the pain, the traumas leave imprints on our heart - in our soul. I don't think they ever completely go away. Remnants linger...they stay affecting us in ways that seem so contrary to who we have become. 

I don't want my past to pull me down anymore. I don't want what I lived to keep me from living my life in complete freedom. I don't want to be ashamed of how far I had fallen.....how bad it had been. My friend told me if people know just how bad it was - they'll understand hope and grace. And if they understand - maybe they'll reach for their own freedom.




25 comments:

Susan said...

Wow. What an incredible post. What an honor to meet such a woman as you tell about.
"I don't want what I lived to keep me from living my life in complete freedom". I know what you mean. For me, it is still a choice I remind myself of daily.
Thank you for this post. You're pretty amazing!

rcubes said...

Can't imagine what she must have gone through back then or her brother...So much pain...tragedy...We all go through different kinds of pains...But by His grace, we can be healed...Keep writing sister and take care of yourself! God bless you always.

Prayer Girl said...

You wrote, "And she couldn't have known how much she touched my life....made a difference...gave me something - gave me a determination not to waste what He did for me."

I ADD - AND HOW MUCH SHE TOUCHED ME, PRAYER GIRL!!!

You also wrote, "I don't want to be afraid to reach out - to make a difference - to take a risk. I don't want to be afraid anymore or live with shame."

AND YOU ARE ACTING AS THOUGH YOU ARE NOT AFRAID AND YOU ARE REACHING YOUR READERS.

"I've started telling a few close friends pieces of what I've lived. Their reaction is shock - mine is fear that they'll turn away from me. None have so far."
THEY HAVEN'T AND THEY WON'T TURN AWAY. I KNOW IT.

Great post!
Love you,
PG

Finally Free said...

Sarah,
Beautiful, touching post. Amazing how God can use us anywhere.
Your friend is right. When I read your posts, they inspire me. You are God's letter of grace walking, talking, and writing. They can deny God's existence, but then there is you. He touched you....and you were transformed by His Grace. My faith is encouraged by your writing and your life.
Thanks my friend,
Tammy

Grace said...

"We're shaped by what we lived....The hurts, the pain, the traumas leave imprints on our heart - in our soul. I don't think they ever completely go away. Remnants linger...they stay affecting us in ways that seem so contrary to who we have become." These words resonate with me tonight, and in nights past.
Your post is beautiful...
~ Grace

Being Me said...

We're shaped by what we lived... I don't think they ever completely go away. Remnants linger..' - this is so true.. God gave us a memory for a purpose and that is to use it to help us develop because of them..
Very good post..Sarah
BM

Andrea said...

AMEN! This woman is still inspiring each of us through you. I am sure her journey was terribly difficult, but she made it..."with GOD all things are possible." He is greater than any situation we face! He will continue to give you the strength to put one foot in front of the other and not cower to the enemy.
Blessings, hugs, prayers, and love,
andrea

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Your friend is right! You are a testament and an encouragement, Sarah, because how God is using you and your story! Our life experiences might shape us, but they don't define us. Who you are is strong, beautiful, and a picture of restoration.

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this fantastic post.

Sheila Deeth said...

What a lovely post. What a lovely way to share this lady's influence.

Susan Deborah said...

The post inspires in many ways. Thanks for this one.

Joy always,
Susan

Paula said...

Dear, like many said here before. What a honor to meet such womEn. Her AND you.Being German I once again feel shame and guilt was has happenend. Once again glad that someone resuced some. You in your won way have rescued yourself and help ME everyday to help myself. MY heart is with both of you.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Powerful post!

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I have read through some of your posts and just wanted to say, keep writing! Your experiences and desire love for the Lord will touch others who are hurting.

Tammy said...

A beautiful post!

Valerie Lynn said...

Beautiful post Sarah. Your strength and courage continue to amaze and encourage me. I am still reading your book. I have never taken so long in reading one book, but I am taking my time as I do not want to miss one ounce of your powerful story. Keep shining bright my sweet friend. Love you.

Just Be Real said...

My dear Sarah, your post has once again touched me deeply. I so appreciate you very much and your words that always find the right spot. Blessings and much hugs.... Me

Rose said...

Sarah, this was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.
God bless you,
Rose

Karen said...

Thanks for blessing me with this triple play of inspiration...the elderly woman...the friend...and YOU....

Colleen said...

Beautiful. Hugs,

Lisa Marie said...

Wow... wonderfully said.

Just like a book, we cannot be judged by our outside appearances. One that appears to be solid and together on the outside is most likely reeling on the inside. To be able to take that and not let it consume you is something not everyone can do... you inspire me!

Roxy said...

This is so beautiful, and touching, and inspiring. Hugs, dear one!

They call me "Deb" said...

Your friend is so right. The hearts of others are touched when they know they are not alone in their personal or secret struggles.
And in seeing your healing - they too are given hope.
Blessings & hugs,
Deb

Linda - Nickers and Ink said...

Profound post!

Thanks for the reminder . . . of what truly counts.

Blessings,
Linda

PILLOW STEALERS – STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Hope said...

One day you won't be defined by your past. That day came for me. It will come for you if you can stay present in the pain, trusting that the only way to freedom is through the pain, not around it.
This was a beautiful post. Full of hope. :)

Deborah Ann said...

God is using you so much to minister to others. Forgetting the past and the shame is incredibly hard, but together we must move forward into our God-given freedoms. To God be the glory!