“Something happened to me over there.” A line from the incredible true story about the, “Woman in Gold.” The young, inexperienced lawyer representing the elderly Jewish woman in the movie had come with her to Vienna to try against all odds to have a priceless work of art returned to her that was stolen from her family by the Nazi’s in WW2. In a scene at the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, this young lawyer touches the name of “Treblinka” – the camp where his Grandparents perished – and finds his heart gripped with a sorrow he had not felt before. This young man, who previously had been consumed with climbing the corporate ladder is overcome. He becomes obsessed with helping the Jewish woman. He can think of nothing else. He risks everything to help her.
“Something happened to me over there.” It’s a line that resounded in our hearts as the tears poured from my eyes while watching the film. When did the ‘something’ happen for us? I’m not sure either one of us could tell you. Seeds of love planted years ago and nourished? Years spent walking ancient stone streets breathing in the memories of unspeakable acts? Did the ‘something’ happen while standing in a death chamber whose air somehow still held the essence of life of those whose final breaths were sucked out of them? Did it happen while kissing the numbers tattooed on wrinkled skin? Was it while listening to stories that tumbled out of hearts still wounded and raw? Or perhaps it was the tears that seeped out of eyes bluer than the Mediterranean Sea and the hoarse whispers of pleading with us to ‘not forget’ and ‘to not let it happen again.’ Maybe it was the gallant “I love you’s” that came from somewhere deep in the chest of a 90-year old warrior whose cries echoed the heart of once small and innocent child?
“Something happened to me over there.” A key opened a door in our hearts that cannot be shut. This passion….the love of God for them drenches us when we look into their faces. These children of Israel are the heart of God. His brothers and sisters. If you believe in the Jewish Messiah, then you know these are His relatives. Israel is still scattered. And, these scattered ones need our – your – help. The reality of the world does not lay in the newest toys…the newest technologies and gadgets….what we think we ‘need.’ The reality is in the refugees driven from their homes with only what they can carry…who are sleeping tonight in tents with holes. Little children starving. Those who are being crucified, beheaded and torched because of their religion. And to those whose broken down bodies and hearts lie isolated and alone in crumbling shacks in the Former Soviet Union.
To some, Larry and I must look like a couple whose ‘elevators’ don’t quite go all the way to the top. With the exception of our clothing and a few personal items, everything we own…33 years… has been reduced down now to 7 small totes that are packed into my Mom’s garage, waiting. While others in our lives are preparing for their retirement we scratch our heads and wonder why two seemingly intelligent individuals would give it all away to go to the other side of the world to care for a group of people with one foot in the grave. By the world’s standard, it makes no sense. Except…..Something happened to us over there.