Author; Speaker; Chocolate Lover!
At Long Last…the Story Jar
I have been promising to get the story jar ready and for various technical & scheduling reason, I haven’t done it. Tonight, it begins, and I am so excited!
I will be detailing the reasons for this new series in more detail in future installments, but for now, I just want to jump in.
I think I was in the sixth grade when the long-awaited movie, The Hiding Place, came out. Based on Corrie Ten Boom’s account of how her family hid many Jewish people in Holland during World War II and Ten Boom family’s subsequent suffering in concentration camps (her sister and her father both died there), this little girl, who even then loved history, books and all things old-fashioned couldn’t wait to see it!
My parents got a babysitter for my younger sister and we waited in line during a lashing cold November evening. Inside the warmth of a St. Louis theatre, my daddy bought popcorn, candy and the rare Coca Cola for my mother and me. Snuggled between them, I watched this amazing, horrific story unfold.
Perhaps I was too young, but this was the era before checking Pluggedin.com or any such details about content, and I had begged to go on opening night. The fact that there was a line for such a film tells you much about the difference in that time and now.
I giggled at Papa Ten Boom’s confusion over the fact that everyone in the underground movement was called “Mr. Schmidt” in order to lessen the chances of hurting someone should you be brought it for questioning. My heart pounded when they did the drills and I shed my first tears when Corrie, recovering from the flu, calls out, “Lord Jesus, help me!” as a Nazi officer cracks her cheekbone with a harsh slap. But even then, I got it. There is power in that name. Jesus is the only one who can help when there is no way out.
To my great sorrow, I reeled at the unfairness of those brave saviors being carted off to concentration camps just for doing the right thing. I spun question after question about “fairness” to ask my parents later. I held my breath when the Nazis offered Papa Ten Boom a chance to stay behind if he would promise to stop hiding Jews.
I still recall his answer, “If I stay, tomorrow I would open my door to anyone who knocks.” I wanted to be that kind of brave.
I marveled at Corrie’s gentle sister who would admonish her in the harshness of the camps: “No hate, Corrie.” And who would encourage her to be thankful for the lice in the barracks because they kept guards away from their secret Bible studies.
But what struck me most was the treasure of a tiny gospel of John (I wanted to do this from memory, but I believe this is correct) that Corrie smuggled into the camp in her bra. It was her solace. She read it. She studied it. She held it. She tore precious pages out to share with others.
The soundtrack of the movie and her joy when she was successful at smuggling in the little Bible, haunted me. The story was incredible. Unforgettable. Forever etched on this little girl’s heart.
I grew up to teach American History in the public schools, and spent four weeks on World War II. Weeks that were too short and too long to cover such sacrifices. To this day, that era of the “Greatest Generation” fascinates me.
But that night, in the car going home, what I asked for was this: a really small copy of the Bible in case that ever happened again. I wanted one I could take with me. To their credit, my parents didn’t laugh. Didn’t tell me not to worry about such things. Didn’t tell me that carrying God’s Word literally next to my heart wasn’t a priority.
And in my stocking that Christmas was this tiny set called “The Micro Mini Bible.” I’ve never had to use them. They have survived 7 moves and a tornado. They sit on my dresser, close to me in case I ever need to grab them. And every time I see them, I remember…