Tell me more.
I recently finished an inspiring, timeless memoir, The Choice: Embrace The Possible by Dr. Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor and world-reknown therapist, whose message is remarkably relevant for today.
What stands out for me is how she transcends her horrific experience to help heal herself and those suffering around her. She finds freedom and forgiveness in corners of life most of us cannot imagine. Today it’s a message we could all benefit from hearing anew. All people matter, all people suffer; there’s no hierarchy.
Influenced by Viktor Frankl, another survivor of Auschwitz and author of Man’s Search For Meaning, she comes to realize that “each moment is a choice. No matter how frustrating or boring or constraining or painful… , we can always choose how we respond.” One is not a victim by one’s situation, but by how one relates to what’s happening.
In an unforgettable story, she shares how a troubled, bigoted 14 year- old boy, in brown shirt and boots, arrives at her therapy office at a judge’s request.
“It’s time for America to be white again. I’m going to kill all the Jews, all the n—s, all the Mexicans, and all the chinks…”
“Who do you think you’re talking to? I saw my mother led to a gas chamber,” she snapped in her anger, in her righteousness. While she was determined to make him accountable for his hatred, she found a surprising “voice within.”
Find the bigot in you. Find the bigot in you.
“Find the part in you that is judging, assigning labels, diminishing another’s humanity, making others less than who they are… We all have the capacity to hate and love. Which one we reach for is up to us.”
While listening to that 14 year- old boy, Dr. Eger had remembered reading that most members of the white supremicist groups have lost one of their parents before they were ten years old. She saw a part of herself in him: she had lost her parents to death, and he had lost his through “neglect and abandonment.” In her eyes, “many are children, looking for an identity, looking for a way to find strength and to feel like they matter.”
She gathered up all the strength in her body, looked at this lost boy, the 14 year- old, with love coursing through her entire being, she invited, “Tell me more.”
Tell me more.