Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Help Where You Can

I heard a replay of a really amazing interview on NPR this morning with Miep Gies, one of the people who helped hide Anne Frank and her family during WWII. I had to sit in the car for a few minutes before going into a client's house to pull myself together after hearing it. (I admit it, I cried!) Miep was just so humble! (If you don't already know, Miep Gies died yesterday at 100 years old. She was the last of the remaining helpers of the Frank family, and she was the one who found and saved Anne's diary when the family was discovered and taken away.)

In the interview on NPR, Miep talked about how she would get a list from the family in the morning, and would go out and buy groceries and supplies for them each week. I read on Wikipedia that she didn't like being called a hero. Here's a quote from an online chat she did with some students:

"Imagine young people would grow up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary."

She also said that when Otto Frank (Anne's dad) asked her to help hide the family,

"I answered, 'Yes, of course.' It seemed perfectly natural to me. I could help these people. They were powerless, they didn't know where to turn."

I love that she said, "I could help these people." It makes such an amazing act of kindness seem so normal, so do-able.

In Orthodoxy (have I mentioned I'm Orthodox?), reading about and learning from the lives of the Saints is right up there with praying on the list of important things to do to better yourself. Considering the lives of the saints helps point us in the right direction. In trying to learn more about Miep's life, I found her website, which was really interesting. Check it out to see some amazing photos of her, including one of her and her husband beside the bookshelf hiding the annex door.

Consider the saints.

And sometimes the saints are just normal, ordinary housewives and secretaries, helping where they can.

What helping opportunities are in front of you right now? Which ones seem to be the most do-able?

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