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The Story That Changed My Life

            I was once attending a seminar, and I silently challenged the speaker to tell me a story that would change my life.

            This is the story I remember:

            A young doctor was sent to Germany to attend those who had been in the concentration camps.  This was after WWII.  Many of the survivors had to remain in the camp, because of their weakened condition.  For some, eating a simple candy bar could shock their system so much that it could result in death.  Consequently, it was important to attend to those that were sick and bring them back to health slowly, before they could be moved to a better location.

            The young doctor conducted his physical examinations of the various patients.  After he had examined one of his patients, he looked at him and surmised, “I would estimate that you just got here.  You are bigger and stronger than anybody else here.  Apparently, you have not had time to lose your muscle mass due to starvation and bad food.”

            The man looked at the doctor, and told him his story.  “Actually, I have been here since 1939.” (This made him one of the longest survivors of the concentration camp.  Remember, World War II ended in 1945.)

            The doctor looked at him with incredulity.  “How did you survive so well?” he asked.

            The concentration camp survivor explained, “My family and I were at our home one night, when soldiers came into our home.  They took my wife and children outside and killed them in front of me.  I begged for them to kill me too.  They would not.  Because I spoke two languages, they thought they might be able to use my services in the future.  They never did.”

            The young doctor looked at his patient with astonishment.  “So how did you survive?”

            The concentration camp survivor explained, “I figured if I was going to survive that I had better learn how to love.”

            This was my lesson.  For me, survival is simply defined: power takes, love gives.

            Love can be defined as charity.

            If you insist upon the power play, then you exclude charity as an option.  On the other hand, if you use charity for yourself as well as others, you stand a better chance of rising above the claims generated from a power struggle.

             The legal system, we believe all too often, is a means of getting even, revenge, or any number of power plays that compel the other person to do what you want.  If this is how a person views the criminal justice system, then they are probably in for a long, painful ordeal.  Remember, the whole State of Minnesota stands against the accused.  Until one realizes what this power entails, it is difficult to comprehend how to survive.

            Remember, love gives.  Power takes.


Tags: concentration camp survivor love versus power