Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Like a Fish Out of Water (10/24/13)
TITLE: Surrounded By Idolaters
By Virginia Lee Bliss
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What am I doing in this place?
Why did my parents send me away?
A nice lady named Violet brought me here. Where I am surrounded by idolaters.
Violet pretended that she was not an idolater but I was not fooled. She took me through one of their idolatrous temples. I kept my head down so that my eyes would not be defiled by the sinful sights.
When we left the temple Violet gave me a piece of paper. “You must become accustomed to answering to the name on this paper.“
Jane. That is not my real name.
“Violet is not my real name either but I answer to it”.
The other children here are all idolaters. One of them-about my age-twelve-approached me.
“You are not one of us.” She gave me a curious look.
A lady named Barbara who works here overheard. “You must not say those things. Everyone is the same here.”
But the girl is right. I am not one of them. We are not the same.
These idolaters worship three major gods and one major goddess. And God knows how many minor gods and goddesses. They clutter their shrines and their temples with graven images.
A statue of one of their major gods is in the temple. He is holding a sheep. On the lawn is a statue of one of their minor gods. He is holding a bird and at his feet are a deer and a rabbit. These idolaters engage in animal worship!
Did not God give Moses the Ten Commandments and the first two said “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shall not make for yourself any graven image.”?
And their music! I am ashamed to confess this but even in the old days whenever I passed by one of their temples I was very nearly lured inside by the music. I never told my parents-they would have been horrified.
Now I find that these idolaters hold ceremonies where they burn incense and sing. How distressing it is for me to admit that I am mesmerized by the smell of the incense. I am enchanted by the singing. That must be how the idolaters entice people into their fold-with their music and their incense.
So back to my question. Why did my parents send me to this den of iniquity? My soul is being corrupted but I cannot help myself.
I begged my parents to let me stay with them. They refused.
At least now I have a bed. And food. Clean clothes. A place to wash. I can walk in the garden and enjoy the sunshine. It is no chore to be assigned to work in the garden. Until I came here I had not seen flowers for many months.
Oh the temptations these idolaters throw in my path!
This place is surrounded by a wall beyond which I was told I must never go.
Walls. Always walls. In the old days there were no walls.
One day Barbara approached me. “Jane, why you are so sad?”
“I don’t belong here. I want to go back to my parents.”
“Your parents thought it best that you be here.”
“This is not the right place for me. You worship many strange gods.”
“Jane, I hope you will see things differently after a while.”
But I never will.
That was in June.
One January morning Barbara burst into the room. “The war is over!
“Poland is no longer in German hands. The Jewish children are safe. We are all safe.
“Now I can call you by your real name instead of Jane. Dear Naomi, I hope that now you understand that all this time you and all of us here have been praying to the same God.”
In a sudden flash everything became clear I realized that Sister Barbara and the other nuns in the convent and the priest had risked their lives to shelter me.
“Yes, now I understand.” I gave Sister Barbara a hug.
Violet is the English version of Jolanta which was the code name that Irena Sendler used in her work of rescuing approximately 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto:
The Convent Children: The Rescue of Jewish Children in Polish Convents
During the Holocaust:
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