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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: A Miracle Indeed
By Jennifer Suchey
07/18/11


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Poland
1939


“I hate this stupid yellow star”, Halina said looking down at her brown coat. “It makes me feel like an insignificant dog.”

“Oh Halina,” Lillian replied as they walked arm in arm toward the ice cream shop. “You’re one of the smartest, most beautiful girls I know. Besides, you always liked yellow. I kind of like your star.”

“You wanna wear it, then?”

“No silly. Only the smartest and prettiest girls get to wear them.”

“Prettier than you, Lillian Sadowski?” Halina nudged her best friend. “Well, you do have a way of changing the way I see things. I suppose I can pretend to like my star.”

“Wonderful! Now if I could just get you to read this – “

“Oh stop it, Lillian,” shoving away the small black Bible Lillian held out. “Accepting a yellow star is one thing, but I will never accept that your Jesus is my Messiah.”

“Won’t you even read it and see for yourself what it says?”

“I don’t have to. My Messiah has not yet come. Reading that book won’t change anything.”

Lillian sighed. After her third failed attempt at getting her friend to take the Bible, she decided to employ another approach. Distracting Halina with discourse, she slipped the Bible into her friend’s coat pocket, praying curiosity would drive Halina to it.

Upon approach to the ice cream shop, Lillian reached for the door, but was jerked back by Halina, who pointed solemnly toward the sign.

NO JEWS!

Before Lillian could say a word, Halina tore away from her and ran toward home.

“Halina!”

Lillian darted after her, finally catching up when Halina slowed to collect her breath. Lillian didn’t say a word. She just grabbed her friend’s hand and walked with her.

Things were about to get worse, however. Much worse.

Rounding the corner to Halina’s house, they came upon a dreadful scene. Rifle bearing SS soldiers were spewing commands and corralling people into the back of a large truck. Halina looked on in horror as she realized her family was among the people being herded like cattle … Mama, Papa and her brother, Stefan.

“Papa!” Halina screamed, letting go of her friend and surging toward him.

Slamming headlong into the arms of a soldier, the blunt end of a rifle escorted her into the line of Jews being forced onto the truck.

Completely powerless, Lillian stood frozen, tears streaming down her face.

The truck lunged forward. Halina’s eyes blazed with fear as she stretched out her hand toward Lillian. Lillian reached back with gut wrenching agony while the movable cage hauled her best friend away.

_________________________


Chicago
1963


Strolling down Milwaukee Avenue, Lillian’s mind raced. Scanning her shopping list … a prescription for her husband, birthday present for their youngest son, ingredients for polish galumpkis and potato pancakes, and –

“Lillian? … Lillian Sadowski?”

Jarred from her thoughts, Lillian looked up to find a woman with a large scar on her face. She was staring at Lillian with wide-eyed anticipation. Lillian’s mouth dropped open and her heart skipped a beat.

“Halina? Oh my goodness, is it really you?”

They reached for each other and clung tightly, having both dreamt of this moment for twenty-four years.

“I can’t believe it’s you!” Lillian said, as she pulled back grabbing both her friend’s hands, her mind flooding with questions. “I thought you were dead. I tried to find out where you, but nobody would tell me anything.“

“After the ghetto, they deported us to Auschwitz.”

“Auschwitz?” Lillian’s hand went to her chest. “But you survived … and your family?”

Halina’s face turned somber. She shook her head.

“Oh, my dear Halina. What a dreadful experience you must have had.” Lillian gently touched the scar on Halina’s face. “How did you endure?”

Halina’s eyes lit up.

“I found the Bible.”

Lillian grinned.

“I discovered it in the ghetto and only by a miracle did that Bible make it into Auschwitz. It kept me going through unspeakable horrors. Jesus revealed himself to me, Lillian. He is my Messiah!”

Lillian squealed with delight and hugged her friend again.

“You found Jesus! Oh, how I prayed for you. It’s so good to know He was with you through all of your trials.”

“I never thought I’d see you again this side of paradise, Lillian. Yet there you were, walking right toward me on Milwaukee Avenue … It’s a miracle!”

“A miracle indeed.”

The two friends began walking arm in arm.

Lillian snickered. “You want some ice cream?”


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This article has been read 282 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca 07/21/11
What a beautiful story! Loved it, love it, loved it. You kept my attention to the end.
Juliette Chamberlain-Bond07/23/11
A very touching story speaking of the horrors that many Jews were subjected to in Europe.
It is so inspirational to know that Jesus can still touch hearts no matter the external surroundings.
Thank goodness for the faithfulness of Lillian.
Kathleen Langridge07/23/11
Having written about the Holocaust in Latvia last week, it was encouraging to read your story with a most blessed ending. Thank you.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/23/11
This is a great story. I held my breath from the beginning. I love the characters and how you painted a picture with your words. I think you could have left the last sentence off. It is so important to keep telling stories about that dark mark in history lest we forget and it doesn't get passed on to our next generations. This is one of my favorite stories.
Amica Joy 07/24/11
Hello dear writer! This is very powerful! Thank you! I live in Germany and happen to be half German (father) and half English (mother). I came to faith when I was 9 in a family where no one knew God personally at the time. We learned a lot in my school (doesn't happen in all schools here in Germany the way it should) about the evils of this time - and me and my school mates were sick with guilt, grief and horror, and battling to deal with this history of ours. Being descendants of the "BEAST" is a horrible "legacy". The word SIN cannot even contain all these horrors. Much later, when I was in my 20s and researching the history of Germany and Poland for an article (for a German missions magazine), I realised that we (e.g. we Germans) did a lot more evil. More, much more! The killings and the suffering spread to so many nations. As Christians we have a different legacy altogether. Thank God for his grace! Please do write more stories like this one. Because the world is forgetting too fast and new BIESTS have been unleashed all over the world.
Anne Warden 08/31/11
Okay, my friend, you've done it again. You've made me feel.
I have tears running down my cheeks.
God Bless you!