No Excuses: Gaining Purpose from History

Every now and then, I overhear conversations between people; when you are in areas that cultivate large groups, this is something that will happen. An issue that often comes up is people like blaming issues of their past to justify why they cannot do something today. Granted, there may be some sort of physical and mental disabilities that could hinder or make it more difficult, but it should never stop you.

I was reminded of this life lesson while watching a brief documentary about Anne Frank and her family. Everyone knows about Anne Frank and how she, her family, and four family friends hid in an attic from the Nazis. For two years, she wrote in her diary about her concerns and dreams, of which her writings would provide a glimpse of the life of a teenager during World War II—an invaluable primary source. Students all over the world are required to read her diary in school, which was found by her father after the war; Otto Frank was the only one out of the eight that survived.

Just imagine being in a concentration camp: you are worked all day with little food or nourishment; watching your family and friends die; watching them be gassed and burned; seeing your property being confiscated and your rights terminated; you do not have a name, but a permanent number tattooed on you; essentially being told and shown you are not a person and do not deserve to live. Each day is hell on earth. Think about that for a moment. Now, imagine the war is over and you survived. You get well enough to go home, only to find your home was gutted of all possessions. You then find out all your neighbors are dead, your family is dead, never to have a decent burial because they were burned or discarded in mass graves. Everything that was is no longer.

No one would have blamed those who went through the Holocaust to disappear and retreat from the public; to sit and wallow because what he or she went through was beyond horrific. However, many of them did not. In fact, they resolved to find those responsible and punish them; they went searching for family and friends; they established museums and memorials; they wrote books and spoke on lecture tours. They took this horrible, nightmarish reality and used it for their advantage. They used it to encourage them to continue telling their story, reaching out to anyone that would hear them, and as a result, embedded their experiences into the human psyche. They survived so that we would not forget and to implore humanity to prevent this from happening ever again.

Maybe something bad has happened to you and perhaps it was not as awful as what the Holocaust survivors went through, but still was traumatizing to you. Seek professional help and get healthy – mentally, spiritually, and physically. Do not let this one experience rob you of experiencing life or use it as an excuse! You survived for reason and let nothing hold you back.


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