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Smiling Forward

April 13, 2015

In my last post “Oh My Papa”, I told of the man my Father was, his strength, attitude, and approach to life on the occasion of his having just passed.

Since then I have been taking trips down memory lane.  Some of that was done through viewing old pictures I found in going through his home.

In looking at some of the old pictures I was profoundly struck by something in particular that I wish to share.  It is a lesson for all people, on dealing with life’s struggles.

I saw pictures of my parents, some relatives, and some friends, all Holocaust survivors, in a displaced persons camp in Italy, where my parents met after the war, and some pictures of them soon after they arrived in America.

What struck me, was that in all of those pictures, they were smiling and looked happy.  If one didn’t know their story, one would not have been able to guess what they had just experienced.  To most of us, it is unimaginable to be smiling having just endured the unendurable and unimaginable.

What I saw in those pictures and learned from watching my Parents, was that they and all Holocaust survivors carry the weight of their past suffering with them all of the time, yet they are strong enough to continue to move forward.  To move forward to a better life.  They came to America and other places and built lives.  They got married, had children, served the community, gave charity, and made a living.

They were able to do this because consciously or un, they believed that their life had a purpose and meaning.  They had faith and hope.  If they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t have survived in the first place.

This is a powerful lesson and reminder for all.

P.S. This Thursday, April 16, 2015 is Yom HaShoah, the annual Holocaust Remembrance day

P.P.S. This strength, faith, and hope is what Dr. Viktor Frankl witnessed when he was in Auschwitz and wrote about in his book “Man’s Search For Meaning”.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig permalink
    April 14, 2015 6:51 pm

    “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” -Dr. Viktor Frankl

    I will think of your family, all they have experienced, and choose to smile as they did when encountering my seemingly small struggles that everyday life presents. A positive upbeat attitude is infectious. Thank you for sharing these reflections on leading a life of purpose and meaning.

  2. Steve h permalink
    April 13, 2015 11:50 pm

    Optimism is a powerful tool. You were blessed with wonderful parents .

  3. stephen t. permalink
    April 13, 2015 10:21 am

    Fred, This has special meaning for me. Nisha and I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last week. It was a very moving experience, but, as you point out, there is hope that lives on with the survivors

    • Fred Fox permalink
      April 13, 2015 10:24 am

      It is the hope they had that should remind all of us to have hope and continue moving forward with a smile

  4. beni permalink
    April 13, 2015 9:12 am

    One of your best – came straight from the heart

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