By Rev. Catherine Stark-Corn, Minister to Children and Families
Recently a friend told me of a book she said I must read. It is not a new book – just one she happened upon in the library, and after reading she could not believe she had not heard of the story. Life In A Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is the title of this creative non-fiction story. It has ties to Kansas, as a group of high school girls researched the main character for a history project and ultimately lifted up the remarkable story of Sendler and her rescue of countless Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland during WW II. We learn of the risks taken by this woman and a network of allies she created to bring children out of the Jewish ghetto and into safe homes in order to survive.
Her bravery was only matched by her desire to honor the familial connections of these young Jewish lives. I will leave the rest of the story for you to discover.
My connection with this book began before I even turned to chapter one, for in the opening a quote is shared that has stayed with me, comforted me, challenged me…
“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” – Albert Schweitzer
I have always resonated with images of light – and how we use this idea of a shining light to describe what comes from within – our soul, our spirit. This idea of light coming from within dances on the edge of mystery and speaks to the essence of that which connects us all. But until I read those words I had not been able to reconcile the times when the light fades or is so dim or when complete darkness envelopes us with the idea of a light that does not die.
The reality of life can overshadow our light when the suffering in the world leaves us feeling powerless. The harshness of daily life can dim our light when our boss berates us, when our children lash out, when devastating news is delivered to us. So many ways for our light to be put out – but that is not where it ends. For as beloved children of God we are made to be in relationship and when we engage with others our light begins to grow.
As I think through the many people in my life who share their flame I am in awe of the depth of goodness that is still very present in the world. Too often we may feel the darkness lingering but as ones seeking to be faithful we can be assured the light will always prevail over and over again!