I saw this quote on a friend’s Facebook the other day and had to share it.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
–Elizabeth Kubler- Ross
I am obsessed with the Holocaust. Well, Holocaust survivors, that is. And for the exact reason that I’m deeply moved when I get to see the world from the perspective of some of the world’s most beautiful people. Maybe it sounds a bit trite or too Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul-ish, but I love reading and hearing about stories of human triumph, transformation, and reconciliation.
When I came back from a semester abroad during college I was filled with anger and righteous indignation at the poverty and injustice that I saw. In the midst of my sulking and clinging to anger, I began to read and hear stories of people who had gone through much greater atrocities than just having their cushy worldview rocked in a study abroad experience. I read about people who’d been oppressed, tormented, and watched their families and friends suffer needlessly.
And they were hopeful.
While I writhed in anger and hopelessness on behalf of a people and a system I barely knew, they were working to make the world a better place. They were teaching forgiveness and dignity and the power of the human spirit. They even said they believed in God.
In reading books by authors like Elie Weisel, I realized I had no excuse to dwell, to sulk, to plummet into the depths. If he could hope, so could I. So must I.
Hope began to stir.
I began to change my spending habits, altered my purchasing power. I started interning at an organization that serves and empowers the type of people on whose behalf I was indignant—I’m still working with this organization.
In the weeks and months to come, I’ll continue to blog about my experience about learning to hope and trust and eventually fall deeper and deeper in love with the God who placed this desire for hope and justice deep within me before I was even born.
For now, I want to thank the beautiful people in my life who’ve traveled with me on this journey. The people who have “known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” The people who, with their lives and their words, have inspired me, moved me, and helped me become a little less angry and a little more beautiful.
Just a glimpse of some of the beautiful people in my life: