Saturday, May 27, 2006


I'm still leaving this "journal entry" as it is the only thing I posted while I was actually in Poland. All these other journal entries about Poland have been posted after I returned to the states and typed my journal out. At any rate - it also provides for reading about a little lighter side of the trip. It was very intense and emotional, but there were fun moments as well :)

Wow - Poland.... its crazy, amazing, heartbreaking, surreal, intense, breathtaking, gut-wrenching, horrifying, beautiful, hateful, loving, full of life and full of death, hopeful, and many more words that I can't even begin to describe ALL at the same time. I just have a few minutes as we have just found an internet cafe and just wanted to post a quick update. Three very crazy things that have happened since/while we are here that don't have so much to do with our trip to study the holocaust, but interesting nonetheless. In case you live under a rock - the Pope has been in Poland for this same time that we have. Our entire 500ish person group had to reroute our entire trip so that the Pope was following us around Poland rather than vice versa because if we had followed him that we wouldn't have been able to finish the trip - too many people wanting to see the Pope and not leaving any room in hotels or on the streets for us. It's just very interesting, because clearly this is the first time that Pope Benedict has been to Poland since his reign as the Pope - but did anyone know that he was a member of the Hitler Youth? While at the same time Pope John Paul (a Poland native) was participating in some of the "underground" activities here in Poland as he was trying to study to become a priest? Just kind of an interesting twist of fate. Every city we go to is spending the day preparing for the Pope while we tour around - including Auschwitz/Birkenau which is preparing for his visit on Sunday (We were there on Thursday). ALSO - If you've again been living under a rock - it was my birthday on Friday :) I'm 24 - yay! :) But anyway - our group here in Poland wanted to take me out for a drink on Friday night because our schedule allowed for some extra/free time etc etc - but we couldn't go out because all of Warsaw wasn't serving alcohol until after midnight in honor of the Pope's presence. Weird... The Pope - ruined my birthday drink. Ok - I'm just kidding... we went out for a fantastic dessert at this restaurant called Ginger - and I ate the most amazing Strudel I've ever tasted... And thirdly - we have body guards. Yes, honest to goodness body guards that pack heat and look like Vin Diesel and yell at people in Polish - it's fantastic. :) They check the bus every morning to make sure there are no "attachments" underneath the bus, run around corners before we are allowed to walk there, and almost get hit by Polish buses as they stop traffic so that we can walk across the street. Who knew a bunch of American students studying the holocaust could be dangerous? But at any rate - I have the Polish Mafia watching us every day and as a matter of fact their hotel room is two doors down from ours... so no worries kids - Laura will soon return safe and sound. :) OK - I'm done rambling - I'm tired and jet lagged - worn out - emotional and drained - so that's my excuse for rambling. Looking forward to posting more when I return with stories and journal entries from Poland.... Love to you all!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's not what they were, just that they were....

Our last stop in Czestochowa was at a Paulite monastery, Jasna Gora, mainly to visit a famous painting called the Black Madonna. There were tons of people visiting this monastery for several reasons that night. First of all there were over 350 of us on this trip. The Pope was coming in just a few days, so the monastery was busy readying itself for his visit. Many locals were simply attending mass. At any rate, there were tons and tons of people there – so I made a point to at least go in the sanctuary, but I just sort of walked on by the Black Madonna. I was able to get a small glimpse of it, but not being Catholic, it didn’t hold much significance for me, but it was still interesting and a nice place to be at. The thing that held the most significance for me is probably rather odd, but oh well. As it would only seem normal, there were many priests that were walking around the monastery, and being in seminary, I felt like we had SOME sort of connection. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I felt like I wanted to run up to them and shake their hand or something and tell them what I was studying back in the US. This weird desire to shake hands with a priest in training was even stronger when I saw a few of them were very young and as they passed by two of them were wearing jeans and tennis shoes underneath their robes. It was just a weird connection to someone in a completely different culture, in a different religion; I just felt this odd connection, like we both would know what the other was thinking. That both of us were younger 20 somethings trying to discern our calling by learning all we could in seminary. It was at that point though that I couldn’t help but think… I’ve seen this person for maybe 5 seconds, never spoken with them, and probably never will, but I could already establish a connection with them. Let’s just say before that small connection I didn’t recognize their humanity – I know that didn’t happen – but let’s pretend. Within 5 seconds of realizing something we have in common, I was able to establish within my brain, humanity and dignity within that person. It was in this weird 5 second weird notice I took of some jeans and tennis shoes underneath a robe that I can’t help but wondering how anyone could kill another human being simply for what they were. Not even killing for what they were, just that they were…just that they existed. Chaim was right – the more education you receive on the Holocaust, the more questions you have, and the more you realize that you will never be able to explain it. What a daunting task. After a very long first day, that I’m not sure when it actually started, because I remember putting these clothes on in the US when I think it was May 23, but who knows, we had dinner at a nice little restaurant called Sala Bankietowa before finally driving to Katowice for the night. Finally a bed, a place to relax and try and process what I’ve seen today… this could take a while though.

What is Living?

After touring around Lodz we headed to another town called Czestochowa where Chaim surprised us with a special visit that I’m not sure the other buses got to see. Chaim knew about this bunker in town that one could still see and still visit. It was a place where people tried to hide before they were finally deported to a death camp. It was down several winding stairs that lead into a damp, deep, dark dungeon like room that I’m sure was filled with mold and mildew. This wouldn’t have been quite the observation, other than the fact that I have been struggling to NOT get a sinus infection and all that. I’ve had to be very diligent about taking vitamin C and decongestants etc and so I can’t even imagine living in this whole with 27 other people for 4 months. If they coughed, or if the baby cried, they would have been ratted out and being sick and coughing a lot, I surely would have been the reason 26 other people would have been found out and sent to their deaths. Twenty-seven people lived in this whole that was no bigger than 8 by 4 feet with a small partition in the middle. They lived there for 4 months before they were discovered. It was so dark and cramped that they couldn’t even light a candle because there wasn’t enough oxygen for both the candle and the people trying to live there. They would come out at night in a courtyard where they could breath and stretch out a bit, although I’m confident they probably still didn’t talk much for fear of being discovered. A certain gentleman would bring them food every 3 days, but it was very limited as the “outside” was very strict and limited and it would be quite obvious that you were taking extra food for 27 other people. He was eventually caught and so one of the younger women in the group, who also had a baby took over his job. She had to leave her child everyday and go seek out food and such for the other people that would care for it while she was gone. One night when they were in the courtyard a neighbor heard the baby cry and they were ratted out. Only the mother didn’t know, so she came back to find that her child and all the 25 other people had been taken. I just can’t even imagine. I mean, I guess I can fathom hiding for a few days or a few weeks, but after a while, don’t you start to wonder what you are hiding for? Don’t you start to wonder if it will ever get better? Say you survive until the Nazis are no longer in power – when this happens, you will still have no family left, no home, and chances are Poland would still be very anti-Semitic and you would still be in danger. But who’s to say that you would even survive in the bunker that long anyway – how long would it take? Would you have to live that kind of life for days? For weeks? For months? For years? Is that really living? Does that constitute a life? Living in a hole and then coming out at night so you can breath? Sometimes I would like to think I would have had enough in me to try and survive, to be a strong person, and to have faith that something better was there to come, but at the same time…. Sometimes I’m just really not sure.

Killing the Dead

We visited the Jewish cemetery in Lodz and it was a very surreal experience. The first thing that struck me was the discussion of why the cemetery seemed so overgrown and run down, and why they were relying only on donations to keep up the cemetery. First of all I never realized that there needed to be separate burial grounds for deceased Jews, but I can respect that – but what you don’t realize is that cemeteries in general are kept up by family members and such. I know every at least a couple times a year my family will visit different cemeteries to pay tribute to those who have gone before us, but I never realized that we keep up the cemetery. When we come and take dead flowers out of the tombstones and put new ones in, we are helping. But there just isn’t a Jewish population in Poland, let along in Lodz that would allow for that to happen. Either they were all killed or they have moved, or they don’t even know that they are Jewish – so it’s hard for simple things like the upkeep of a cemetery to keep going. The Nazis came into Polish Jewish cemeteries and continue to kill Jews that were already dead. How is this possible? By defacing the memory of someone who has already died and taking their tombstone to make a road way or in some other way to destroy their memory and to kill them all over again. Today the cemetery is filled with monuments that are in the shape of trees that are cut half way off. They did this for two reasons, one that a monument of a tree wasn’t quite as obvious to the Nazis and wouldn’t necessarily have Hebrew on it and such so that the memory of that person can still be preserved. But also in keeping with the Jewish and Christian idea of the Tree of Life, these trees are cut short because the people they memorialize, their lives were also cut short. New growth comes from a branch on a tree, and the branches were cut off on these monuments to represent the end of new growth in the Jewish community. This was a clear and sadistic plan to wipe out every trace of any Jewish existence in Europe – the Nazis even wanted to kill the dead.

A Suffering Child

Also in Lodz we were able to see a monument which I know many people in Lodz walk by every day. Some I’m sure walk by knowing what it represents, some maybe block it out of their memories, and some don’t and may never know why this statue is there. It’s a fairly disturbing monument though – it looks somewhat disturbing, so I would be surprised to find someone that would be able to walk by it everyday and not wonder what it is. Some say it looks like a break heart. At any rate – the monument is there to honor and remember the children who didn’t necessarily die in concentration camps, but those who suffered both Polish and other children throughout Europe. Many children died very early due to a program often nicknamed as the T4 Euthanasia program in which the Germans were trying to rid their race of any “defect” in their blood lines. Anyone who was handicapped in some form or fashion, mentally or physically, or just appeared so, was sent away to be euthanized. I know there is still much debate on assisted killing and euthanasia in that sense, and I can often understand the argument in some cases, if people are suffering and they make a choice… ok, so I still can’t even understand that situation, but even in those situations, people make their own choices. In this situation, the Nazis made the choice for them. This monument is for them. This monument is also for the many children who were “Germanized” rather than being sent to death. But in a sense they still suffered their own death. If they had the “right” physical features of an Aryan and demonstrated that they were “worthy” to the German race, then they were taken from their parents and sent to Germany where they were raised as Germans. They were forced to assume new identities, forced to change their names, change their religions, assume a new family and become the same people who were murdering their biological parents. This monument is for them and their loss. It was at this monument that I again remember something Chaim said. I’m not sure if he read it from another reading or was just speaking – but in response to the question of “how could they” when people ask how Nazis and Germans could stand by while millions of Jews, Romas, Gypsies, Gays, Lesbians – HUMAN BEINGS were murdered – Chaim spoke of the T4 program and reminded us that the Nazis first did it to “their own” – they first murdered thousands of their own citizens in order to racially cleanse their population as if these people were not HUMAN BEINGS themselves. This monument is for them.

Fathers and Mothers: Give Me Your Children...

This is an excerpt of the speech I was talking about in my last journal entry...

In early January 1942, the Germans began a transport of all Jews under the age of 10 and over the age of 65 to the first Nazi extermination camp, Chelmno, only about 65 kilometers from Lodz. A Nazi-appointed Jew, Mordechai Haim Rumkowski, head of the Lodz ghetto Judenrat, or Jewish council, made a famous speech:

"A grievous blow has struck the ghetto. They are asking us to give up the best we possess - the children and the elderly. I was unworthy of having a child of my own, so I gave the best years of my life to children. I've lived and breathed with children, I never imagined I would be forced to deliver this sacrifice to the altar with my own hands. In my old age, I must stretch out my hands and beg: Brothers and sisters! Hand them over to me!"

"Fathers and mothers: Give me your children ... I must perform this difficult and bloody operation. I must cut off limbs in order to save the body itself. I must take children because, if not, others may be taken as well -- God forbid ... I must tell you a secret: they requested 24,000 victims, 3000 a day for eight days. I succeeded in reducing the number to 20,000, but only on the condition that these be children under the age of 10. Children 10 and older are safe! Since the children and the aged together equals only some 13,000 souls, the gap will have to be filled with the sick."

"I can barely speak. I am exhausted. I only want to tell you what I am asking of you: Help me carry out this action! I am trembling. I am afraid that others, God forbid, will do it themselves."

"A broken Jew stands before you. Do not envy me. This is the most difficult of all orders I have ever had to carry out at any time. I reach out to you with my broken, trembling hands and beg: Give into my hands the victims! So that we can avoid having further victims, and a population of 100,000 Jews can be preserved! So, they promised me: If we deliver our victims by ourselves, there will be peace!"

The parents dressed the children in their holiday best, as if they were about to attend a party. The children were then separated from their parents and transported to Chelmno. As the train pulled out of the station, filled with babies and the elderly, the cry "Mama" could be heard from inside the cars. In less than two weeks, over 20,000 Jews were sent to their deaths at Chelmno.

Choiceless Choices

May 24, 2006 – The Lodz Ghetto

There’s so much feeling, so many thoughts, I’m struggling to keep up. I’m tired and exhausted, but I’m wide awake all at the same time. Today we went to Lodz where Pinchas (the survivor on our bus) grew up before the war. He tried to tell us about his life before the war in hopes that we wouldn’t only hear about the terrible things that lead up to and occurred during the war. Lodz seems like a normal city today, it’s almost hard to see much evidence of a ghetto – but if you look its there. It is especially there at the monument that was built near the train station which left Lodz and took all the Jews to death camps at Chelmno and then Auschwitz. The monument is called Stacja Radegast – Pomnik Zaglady Litzmannstadt Ghetto. Our Polish guide (Chaim) asked me to read a “report” from one of the doctors who ran Chelmno. We learned that Chelmno was a very primitive death camp and that they used cars disguised as Red Cross ambulances to act as mini gas chambers. It was so deceiving to people, as they would get off the trains they would get into cars with a Red Cross on them, something we all perceive as help and refuge – and after getting in the cabin of the “ambulance,” the Nazis would connect the exhaust to back inside the cabin where the people were sitting. The report that I read aloud to our group was from a doctor asking his superiors to change the way this was done because if the exhaust was put into the cabins too quickly, then it left the fated passengers with distorted faces and bodies, often defecating on themselves or other bodily functions that they could no longer control, rather than gently putting them to sleep as was hoped. I don’t understand how a person can have compassion enough to want a peaceful death for these people, yet with the same heart still think that killing them is ok. These extermination vans also apparently concerned this doctor because soldiers unloading them were becoming affected. How can you have compassion and concern for one human being, this soldier, and not feel at least a little similar compassion towards someone else standing right there waiting to get into this deceiving van. Something that really struck me though was the set of choiceless choices imposed on the Jewish council at the Lodz ghetto by the Nazis. After the ghettos were established, most ghettos formed a council or some sort of city “government,” since most were operating as a city on their own, it was an attempt at normalcy and an attempt at maintaining some sort of security. However at several different points, the Nazis forced the Council and the citizens of the ghetto to do certain things – just as they started the deportation. At one point in the Lodz ghetto, the Nazis demanded 20,000 people from the ghetto to be deported. The Jewish council had a choiceless choice, who do you choose? I mean, I know we and I joke about how this last presidential election was a choice of the lesser of the two evils – but it wasn’t an absolutely choiceless choice. The Jewish Council of the Lodz Ghetto decided to ask for the children up through nine and the sick. They asked their own family and friends, their own neighbors to GIVE UP their children and their sick, to be sent away in a cattle car, or the Nazis were going to do it themselves and just pick. The Jewish Ghetto just figured this was the best chance at survival. I get that – I do – but I can’t imagine or even fathom how that felt. We even read a portion of the speech, but I still can’t fathom having to hear it in all seriousness and know that my precious niece and nephew, and my grandfather would have been on those trains. I can’t fathom having to consciously put your own family members on their own journey towards death. My heart aches, literally, pain in my chest, just thinking about it. Chaim is our Holocaust guide – each bus has a survivor, a Holocaust guide and a Polish guide (and a bodyguard J) – although I’m not positive, I think all the Holocaust guides have some sort of personal connection the Holocaust. For example, Chaim’s father was in a camp and survived, moved to Chile, and raised a family there before he was later murdered for the same thing that put him in the concentration camps. Chaim does not claim to be Jewish by religion, but he is culturally. He has moved to a Kibbutz in Israel and travels between Israel and Poland to do trips like this. It was Chaim who said some of the most profound things on this trip that I will never forget. Even just here, on our first stop of the trip he talked about knowledge in general. Americans, even the whole world, generally accepts knowledge as a good thing, as something you can never get enough of. And up until today, I would have agreed. But Chaim reminded us that to know more in the Holocaust is worse, because the truth, the inhumanity, the pictures and the people live with you forever, day and night. And just in these two days, I’m already confident that it will, that this experience will live with me every single day and every single night of my life. In this same conversation Chaim brought up another really good point about knowledge. Coming back to the discussion of is knowledge good or bad? I mean we also know the saying, ignorance is bliss, and there are many times in my life I believe it, but Chaim brought up a good point while he was standing next to a cattle car. Would it have been better to know where you were going stepping into that cattle car? Or would it have been better to have hope that you were moving on to another place in the country away from the “front lines” as those people were so often told? Would it have been better to know you were going to a death camp – or would it have been comforting to know that you were going to a concentration camp where you at least had a CHANCE at survival? We were all able to look in and at the cattle cars – the cars that were never meant for people, but were also the last site many people ever saw – and as Chaim talked about them he said something that I’m sure will stick with me throughout all my seminary career in an attempt to figure it out. He said, “I am not religious, but these cars are Holy.” We talked about these people in the cars, when they finally opened after a treacherous and long uncertain trip, the breath of fresh air they received. I can’t help but think about that one breath, that first breath they took, only to find out that they were breathing in their own death; breathing in air that was filled with the ashes of those who had come before them, and that would be filled with theirs in just a short time. The last part of this monument that we saw included a registry with the thousands of people who left from this station to never be seen again. Names, birthdays, occupations, ages and such were all recorded and have been preserved, and for most people as the only preservation that they ever existed. There is a hallway FILLED with these sheets of names, including some blank sheets, to serve as a memory to those who were not recorded before they departed to their deaths or the unknown. It’s an overwhelming site to see the lists because the monument doesn’t light up until someone is close to this display – so it’s hard to grasp how many of these forms there are. Our entire group ended up in this long hallway, and it seemed to go on forever. I just hope the memory of these individuals can and will do the same.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

A Whisper of Hope

May 23, 2006

Wow – I’m still in awe at this opportunity. I’ve been struggling with how to and the ability to prepare myself for this trip. I’m very grateful for the orientation here as it has helped me mentally prepare for the trip amidst the crazy schedule I set for myself at the end of the semester. After the orientation as I sit here on the plane a couple of things come to mind. We have been inundated with so much information through our schooling and again as a recap through this orientation that I fear I have become desensitized to information about it. Or could it be as if we’ve just talked about it so much that now I just want and need to experience it? I need to touch the ground and the brick buildings and smell the ash that still remains. It’s like when people try to explain food to you but no matter how much you explain it, can you ever actually taste the food without actually eating? I know that I am lucky and different from many students who are products of the US public school system in that I spent an entire semester studying the children of the in HS and have had the privilege of going through the museum twice while in HS. I know many of the stories and many of the startling facts – sop while hearing all these facts again and hearing this overview, the things that help me the most are those that make it much more personal to me. I know that “putting a face” on an event like this often helps people, but I sometimes need even more than that. I don’t mean to sound or act selfishly by needing a really personal experience, but without it I almost feel paralyzed. For example it really helped me to hear Joe Kelly describe the number of children who died in the ; that every child in public schools in KY, K – 12 would have to be killed twice in order to reach a similar number to those killed in the . I also remember him describing the feeling of entering a gas chamber and touching the door that sealed the fate of so many people for absolutely no reason. It was really good to emphasize the difference between genocides that are occurring today and the Holocaust as they did in their presentation at orientation. Many, not all, but many genocides today are politically driven with some sort of other motive, where the means to the desired end happens to include the murder of thousands or millions of people. But the Holocaust existed simply to rid the world of a race of people simply because they were Jewish. Granted I know, and do not pretend to ignore the thousands and millions of others who also perished in the Holocaust, but just the purpose of this trip, to connect Jewish history with the life of Christianity forces a (needed) focus onto the Jewish portion of the Holocaust. Through courses in seminary and other things I have read, I know how often Jews continue to be scapegoats for not particular reason. They’ve been blame for so many things, wrongly accused throughout history; it’s like society doesn’t know who else to blame. And in this sense, it was a really good reminder that situations like Rwanda and Darfur are often shared with political uprisings or war. So often we may want to say that of course the Holocaust too was accompanied by WWII, but in fact Nazism and its pure hatred of Jews started before Germany entered WWII. The Nuremburg Laws began before WWII and Hitler had a clear propaganda of hatred for Jews. Ken Jacobson of the ADL spoke about this, but I think he brought up an even greater point. He mentioned a quote (by someone I can’t remember) of the Clinton administration concerning Darfur and the quote basically said that the reason Clinton didn’t get involved with Darfur was because there weren’t enough people who said it was an issue. There are wonderful things about democracy, but downfalls as well – unless the people pose a concern about important issues, then most of the time politicians won’t pay much attention. For good or for bad, they pay attention to what the people say is important. Although not a democracy, was this the case in Germany? Were there just not enough people who knew mistreatment of human beings was wrong or were there some by they just weren’t loud enough? Or did the Nazi party just have that good of a system that silenced these people right away that they never had a chance to sound their voice? Would I have been willing to use my voice if I were in Europe at that time? Or would I have been so immersed in a society that was condemning tolerance that I would have just gone along with it all? I almost feel like this pertains to my “calling” a bit. I still struggle with the idea of a calling because I always want to remain humble rather than feeling special and chosen – but in the same sense that I feel some sort of calling, I hope I would have felt like I would have needed to make a difference back then, the same way I do now. I know it is a calling because I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing anything else with my life. Even if I would try to do something else with my life I know I would never have been happy doing something else. In the same way I hope I would have just known that what was happening was wrong. I hope that I wouldn’t have been happy with my life without doing something and saying something about the inhumanity leading up to the Holocaust. But at the same time I don’t want to come across arrogant – sounding as if I know I would have made a difference and done something about it, that I would have resisted. And ALL in the same breath, should I speculate as to how I would have reacted or is it even worth the time? With an eternity of speculation, can I ever truly know what I would have done if I had lived during that time? Will I ever be able to say I would have been strong? Will I ever be able to say that I could have been a survivor? Can I ever really KNOW how I would have acted, or just hope that I would have acted a certain way and hope that I would have been that whisper that was heard through the shouts of hate and inhumanity?

There were MANY songs that we heard throughout the trip - and this was the first of those many - I've tried to include Podcasts when I have them... so if you would like to listen to the song click here and read along with the words below... (you may have to open a new window)

“6,000,000” – Words & Music by Hank Fellows

In the peaceful mountain valleys
Long after the Second War,
Stand the silent wooden barricades
That held my people long before,
And the wire too has rusted down
That help them from the start,
And the meadows are filled with
Flowers, perhaps one for every heart.

I can almost hear the words they
Might have spoken,
I can almost see them
Standing bent or tall,
I can almost hear their
prayers of love unbroken,
But I cannot stop my tears,
For I can never hear
The words and deeds that
Might have saved them all.

I have seen old newsreel photos
Of men so famous in their time,
I have heard their noble speeches,
Seen parades of grand design,
But I can only stop and shake my head
That men not so long ago
Could close their eyes and turn away
When my people needed them so.

Chorus (Same as above)

And I could almost bear the
weight of all my sorrow
If I felt their lives had
Not been lost in vain,
But I see the world today,
And still tomorrow,
And the story’s just the
Same, the hatred and the pain,
And people die while the
World just looks away.

I can almost hear the words
They might have spoken,
I can almost seem them
Standing bent or tall,
I can almost hear their
Prayers of love unbroken,
But I cannot stop my
Tears, for today I still can’t hear
The words and deeds that
might have saved them all.

No I cannot stop my tears,
For today I still can’t hear
The words and deeds that
might have saved them all.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Puff the Magic Dragon

Puff the Magic Dragon...what is this song really about? I can officially say that now I know... after singing the song with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary himself, and listening to him describe the song itself, I can now say I KNOW, it's not about smoking or any other crazy idea you could come up with. This morning Andrea and I left Kentucky at 9:30am and headed to Newark, NJ for our orientation before we head to Poland. Here in Newark we are staying at a hotel for a one day orientation before we head to Poland tomorrow evening. In the midst of my crazy schedule at the end of the semester, I've been struggling to prepare myself for the trip and what the trip will mean, how I will grow and how it will affect me. So, most importantly, I am eternally grateful for this quick orientation. It's helped me to process what we will be seeing, what we will be experiencing. Peter Yarrow was a surprise part of our orientation, singing some songs that we all know, but also singing some that we haven't heard, reminding us of what his songs and his life are really about. The humanity of people, of persons, of individuals and the need to remember that in all we do. The need to remember that every action can affect a person, an individual and most often the need to remember it may be in a negative manner. The need to remember that we are all interconnected and all interdependent - that we all share in the human condition. Puff the Magic Dragon is a memory of childish innocence lost. When the little boy grows up, he can't worry about Puff anymore almost to the point that he can't believe in Puff anymore because adult society has forced us to pay our attention and energies to many other things that don't allow time for Puff. We are forced to pay attention to the atrocities of humanity, the pain of humanity and t0 learn about the human condition. Puff slowly leaves our lives as society pushes him out. Poland is going to be an amazing experience - I can't even begin to describe - I only hope I do the memories justice as I return to share them with anyone and everyone who wants to hear them.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The moment in a song...

The moment the song begins - the entire wedding party stops - the chaos stops - the room stops - and the bride and groom are finally able to enjoy their first dance together as husband and wife. But there's more to it than this - the bride and groom are able to stop - they are able to pause - and admist all the craziness of planning a wedding can finally soak in that they are united as one. I'm not sure why the first dance seems to be when things can finally calm down, but it seems as if isn't until that point that the couple can finally enjoy their celebration together. On top of the ceremony and the pictures, the reception finally gives them a chance to stop and breathe, to breathe in one another and to take in a life giving breath that their love provides to each other. And I'm not going to lie, it gave me a small moment to breathe as well. I've been running around like a crazy woman lately and this one moment, in a lengthy love song, finally gave me a chance to breathe. After returning home to KC for an Ordiation Committee meeting, finishing four finals and final papers, LTS graduation activities, moving from my apartment to our new house and then rushing back to St Louis for the rehersal and wedding - I finally slowed down and appreciated the chance I had to simply be there to celebrate with Jordon and Brenon in their special day. This semester flew by and I can't believe its over - although I can definitely say I'm glad it is. It was a hard semester and the busy schedule I set up for myself at the end of the semester didn't help with any relaxation. Not to mention that in just a few short hours I am again headed out fo the country, this time for a class, so it begins again. It was really nice to finally see Jordon and Brenon on their wedding day and I'm so thankful that I was able to join them, and to stand with them on their wedding day. I'm glad I was able to pause, to see the love that has joined them forever, and to pause and see the wonderful blessings life has given me in friendship, in opportunities, in relationships and in love. Thank you for the moment...

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Ode to Jordon

Many apoglogies for being a major slacker on my posting lately - I promise it will get better after finals are over. I'll have more time to be a major slacker and waste all sorts of time on the internet ;) But until then... I miss my Jordon! I miss watching Monsters Inc, I miss my lazy butt sitting at my desk and watching her work out, I miss trips for milk and graham crackers because that's all we're allowed to have until dinner, I miss finals food and pickers, I miss Olivia and Compton, I miss the beautiful Miss Sallee and "giving peas a chance" :) I miss it all! At any rate - I saw Jordon this weekend at her Bachelorette party - ONE CRAZY WOMAN :) I can't wait - three more weeks until her big day!!