Death encased me like a cool, inviting ocean breeze. I welcomed its invitation with solace and solitude, resigned and ready to meet the Lord that very night.
“Let your will be done,” I tearfully whispered.
My eyes glanced upward toward heaven but heaven did not glance back. Once again I was alone and forsaken by the one I called Lord. Despair was my constant companion and death my only friend.
For a fleeting moment I appeared in a wayward mirror shattered with pieces of broken glass and broken lives. Disgusted, I promptly turned away glimpsing a monster to be grieved not pitied. Gaunt hands gently caressed the outline of withered skin and bone. My vibrant green eyes were now sunken, hollow beads. My body was wracked with disease and painted with sores. This life and body that once possessed hope and joy now entrapped a dying soul. A soul consumed by hatred, grief and an eternal desire for vengeance.
I was a young wife, mother and a God-fearing Christian. I clung to my faith as a drowning man clings to life preserver. In the end my faith could not save my husband nor my child.
In 1941 the Germans invaded our native Poland, the countryside was filled with the Gestapo. Jews and gypsies alike were being rounded up and filtered into Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp. Our neighbors began disappearing, one at a time some in the middle of the night and some in the middle of the bright afternoon.
Their anguished cries filled every corner of the country. Their pleas for mercy were often silenced by a barrage of bullets. Bodies lay strewn on the cobblestone streets and a river of blood flowed through the crevices.
My husband and I couldn’t abandon our follow brethren when they needed us most. We accepted the danger and responsibility, knowing it could mean our very lives. Our faith enabled us to trust Him even we our hearts could not.
We pondered and prayed wondering how such a loving God could allow such atrocities to occur. Our hearts broke with every drop of blood and every silenced tear.
For months we were able to protect and conceal a family of Jews, fearing for their lives and their children’s live. But in time we were discovered, the Jewish was massacred before our eyes and we were charged with treason and sentenced to the Nazi death camp.
Hundreds including ourselves were rounded up like a herd of cattle and shipped by train to Auschwitz. Its name alone evoked fear and terror throughout Poland. It was known that those who entered Auschwitz only exited in a body bag.
Upon arrival at Auchwitz, I was separated from my husband and daughter. I remember her small hand reaching for mine, screaming mama and questioning why the bad men were taking her away. My husband managed to kiss me and mutter an I love you before he was marched toward Block 10. Tears stung my eyes as I realized that the gas chambers were located in his direction.
I never saw my husband or my daughter again. I was told my husband was exterminated upon our arrival. I managed to find my daughter weeks later as she lay dying in the infirmary. Her small body seething with opened sores and an untreatable infection.
She clung to life just long enough to whisper, “I love you, mama.” My life ended the day she died; I was lost in self pity and self loathing.
I screamed, begged and pleaded with God to end my sufferings and for heaven’s final breath. With every scream I was met with silence, for every tear with despair and for every plea another broken promise.
The flames of hell seared my soul and scorched my heart. I wandered through the darkness fevered, broken and frayed, His Hand guiding my final days. I struggled but endured knowing I only needed His Strength for just a little longer. I sought shelter in His arms and comfort in His words, gently reminding me of his lasting promise.
I staggered through the fires of hell, strengthened by the journey and refined by its flames. Death encased me like a cool, inviting ocean breeze. I welcomed its invitation seared by hell and redeemed by heaven.
For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.-Psalms 66:10
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