Plip! A stone landed in the middle of the pond, the circles expanded from the centre and glided smoothly to the edges. Each ripple that touched the rushes rocked them once and they were still again. Nearby, a young boy jerked his head up to view the clear, blue sky. His doleful eyes reflected a heart that had been hurting for a long time. He gazed into the emptiness of an endless blue expanse.
"Happiness must be close to nothingness," he said to himself, "no pain, no longing, no memories of parents and brothers and sisters that have gone."
But another part of him, less clear, less honed by the pain, but still dormant in his depths, knew that was not so.
He remembered a time when happiness meant fullness - a home, a family, school, friends, hot porridge in the morning and mother's soup at night. Then the bomb landed - like the stone in the pond, sending waves in all directions. Only it was not gentle at all. There were no reeds left in the pond after the Gestapo came.
His parents heard of their imminent arrival in the Polish village. News also reached them that England was accepting children from Europe. They thought it best to send him there to a private school. For their own safety, they would try to get to another part of Europe by joining a group of other refugees who were escaping the Nazis. It was a plan with some hope.....soon to be shattered.
He had been playing soccer on the street with the boys in the neighbourhood.
"You were offside, Mark." screamed one of the boys from the other team.
" What are you talking about?" protested Mark. " Sigmund was standing right there in front of me."
"You liar, Mark !" said one of the other boys.
At this, Mark immediately set upon him and began to punch.
The boy's father, hearing the fracas on the street, ran out. Without asking what the problem was he began to sharply berate Mark:
" You dirty Yid! What are you doing fighting with my boy? Just wait until the police hear!"
Mark ran home in great fear. He told his parents what happened and they knew they must not wait but send him off the next day to their friends in Sudetenland and thence to England.
That was the last Mark saw or heard of his family. He later heard that the police came the next day and handed them to the Gestapo.
"If only I did not begin that fight, my parents might have left and joined the other refugees."
The guilt and self-hatred was tearing him apart so much he wanted to die.
Thirty five years later on a street in Tel Aviv, Israel.
"What's that noise outside, Frida?"
"I don't know Mark, have a look."
Mark stepped onto the doorstep of their shop and peered curiously down the street at a group of religious Jews pushing another young Jewish man to the ground.
"Jew killers!" the men snarled at the young man.
They grabbed his literature and ran off with it. One of the leaflets fell onto the ground.
The young man rose, brushed himself down and walked off with a friend who had been watching close by.
Mark walked over to where they had been, picked up the leaflet and read:
"Experience a transformation in your life."
He opened it.
Isa 53:3-5: He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (ESV)
The words came alive and pierced his heart. The pain and guilt, that he thought had gone and were healed from being in the land that his parents could only dream of, came back in a sudden flood.
The leaflet said these words were about the Messiah. It also said that He had come, and that there now was forgiveness and healing.
Mark waited anxiously for days to see the men again on the street. When he did, he ran out to meet them and he told them everything.
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