Move to Matter
Moving. Moving can mean physically transporting yourself to another location, mentally taking you to another place, or emotionally stopping you in your tracks. The last one is what I experienced Sunday at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
I stood there, in the museum, staring at the red checkered book and yellowing pages. I remembered my copy at home, with the plastic jacket and the yellowing pages. I couldn't move, for fear that I would lose this moment, that someone would come up behind me and tell me that this hadn't happened. That so many people didn't die for this, that so many people weren't affected by the tragedies of the Holocaust. The tears filling my eyes wouldn't move, and I couldn't bear the thought of them moving either. All I wanted was to stand there, by myself, and soak in the power that Anne's words left behind.
When I was younger, I loved to read and still do. I was voracious with my knowledge of books, about books, and for books. I would read multiple books a week, and one of them just happened to be The Diary of Anne Frank. My grandmother had an older copy with a covered book jacket and yellowing pages. The pages were grouped together, and some were even close to falling out of the book. This is the copy that I first read and still own today.
Anne wanted to be an author. She wanted to tell her story about the secret annex and her hiding place and the bookshelf behind which she existed. Unfortunately, she did not see her story through to publication and worldwide fame. She was a girl, living in captivity, gluing pictures on the wall, and writing. This was the way that she kept living and surviving, every day of those two years on Prinsengracht.
It's been a while since I've read the diary, but it all came back Sunday. I remembered the bookshelf (the original one is still in the annex), I remembered the attic (where she and Peter would sit and talk), and I remembered the red checkered book (the original diary is on display in the museum).
I wanted closure, but at the same time, it's a call to action. Anne's writing will continue to influence others in the way that it's influenced me, but how does this affect our lives from now on? Do we stand back when we see injustice? Do we speak up when we see someone wronged? Do we move when we have the ability to make change?
Why do you move? I move because I need to, because I have to, and because I want to. I move for the people like Anne who lost their lives, but still live on. I felt disheartened, but I also felt empowered.
What I want people to remember about me is that I helped others. I want to help others like Miep Gies helped Anne and her family. I want to know that other people are protected and encouraged. I want to know that words matter in the world, just as Anne's did and still do.
How do I harness that kind of power? That's the journey that I will travel on for the rest of my life. I hope you say no to silence, and I hope you say yes to movement.
Lucky Strike of the Day: I've been in three German cities (Dusseldorf, Essen, Cologne) in two days. Thanks, public transportation.