Today, I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Occasionally, I would have to take a deep breath as I looked at photos of sunken skin on protruding hip bones of 10 year olds or bodies dismembered for experimentations, listened to the audio of screaming women and children as they took their last gasp of air before their lungs collapsed, watched the video of survivors retelling stories of tragedy from the days of their youth…
It’s amazing to me how beautiful yet how disturbing this world can be. I have more stories of tragedies than I would like to admit and they don’t come from a storybook. Man’s abuse of power and control has traumatized the lives of millions across the globe worldwide- sometimes those lives are individuals living in your home or your best friend.
What I also find amazing is man’s ability to survive. To go deep within their souls and find the hope that sustains them till the other side. What I find even more amazing are the individuals that are able to keep faith in humanity and utilize their experiences to help/inspire others.
Anne Frank endured a heck of a lot more than hopefully any of us will have to. A few weeks before she died, she wrote this:
That’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered. It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death.
That’s where I am right now. No, Peace Corps isn’t a concentration camp and I’m not about to die. The last month and a half has been rough in different ways. A lot of let downs and disappointment and betrayals. I still have my ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes and I plan on keeping them for I believe the majority of people are innately good at heart. Sometimes it’s a little hard to keep a hold of, but I’m doing my best.
The last line on the photo above says that Anne Frank has become a symbol of lost potential. How sad is that? Think of all she could have done with her hope and inspiration.
Personally, I don’t want to become a symbol of lost potential. At 2 months till 26, I may have stories of tragedies but I also have stories of hopes and dreams.
We have each gone through tragedies of different proportions.
We all have the ability to survive. We have the ability to go deep within our souls and find the hope that sustains us till the other side.
We have the potential to do amazing things from the knowledge and understanding we have gained through our tragedies and experiences. Don’t become a symbol of lost potential.
Fulfill your potential. You are still alive to do it.