Thursday, April 23, 2009

Secret Diaries

I've been reading this book recently:

It is an incredibly moving volume of stories recorded by children who experienced unimaginable horrors. They are 'tales of fear and courage, of tragedy and transcendence.'

What I found interesting was that many of these children had a sense that they were putting their experiences on paper expecting that someone, somewhere, at some time, would read them -- even though many of these children were also convinced that they would not live beyond their childhood years because of the horrors they were enduring (and many of them didn't).

It is, indeed, quite remarkable to read how their diaries, written industriously on scraps of paper, in the covers or down the margins of old books, well-hidden from enemy eyes, were somehow discovered, preserved, and ultimately published in some form or another, decades later.

I have learned so much from the remarkable wisdom expressed in these diaries - about human nature (both the good and the evil), about how children process and survive terrible trauma, about being thankful for life and wanting to make the most of it while I can, about the enduring element of faith.

More than anything, I want my grandchildren to read these diaries, so that they can learn by them. My grandchildren -- who want for nothing, who have no comprehension of hardship, never mind of living in ghettos, being chased down by Nazis and seeing their parents shot to death, or of hiding in bomb shelters and wearing gas masks, or of dying gruesome deaths -- need to read about what other children have lived through and be thankful that they haven't.

Maybe they need to read these diaries in preparation of what lies ahead for them in this world. I don't know. I just know they need to read them.

I keep a journal....have done for about 15 years. I don't write in it daily, but what goes into it comes from the deepest part of me. So it's not something I would ever want anyone to read while I am alive.

But I can't help having this overwhelming feeling, every time I write in it, that there will come a day, long after I'm gone, that someone, somewhere, will be reading what I've written and will benefit greatly by it.

How about you? Do you keep a journal? What do you write in it?

Do you have a sense that maybe you are writing for a future generation? That sometime in the future, after you are gone, someone will read it and be grateful for what you have written?

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