From Death to life

Three years ago I traveled to the province Thüringen in Germany with my parents. During our stay we visited concentration camp Buchenwald. Buchenwald touched me in such an emotional way that it inspired me in more ways than I could ever imagine.

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Buchenwald still has a few buildings that give a vivid picture of what it must have looked like back in the days. One building houses the ovens, another shows the pictures of what happened there. Jews, gypsies, christians even that were undressed and shaved and divided amongst the camp. Pictures that brought tears to your eyes.

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Yet all the barracks are gone. One barrack was recreated by pictures.  This was a hospital barrack where sick were tended to, but it isn’t the original. On the places where the barracks used to be are stones. The stones outline the places where the barracks used to be and they are filled with gravel stones.

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As I was walking across the grounds, I noticed flowers growing between the rocks. This surprised me. A place where life seemed to be impossible, a place of rocks, housed a group of dandelions. I know that dandelions are seen as weed but to me they are flowers. And the symbolism of these pretty little flowers growing between the rocks blew me away.

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When dandelions die, they change from yellow flowers into white flowers with uncountable seeds that blow away on the wind. Kids love to pick these flowers and blow the seeds onto the wind. The seed fly away and land on other grounds where the produce a new flower. The death of a dandelion in never the end, it is a brand new beginning for uncountable new flowers.

The symbolism or message that God gave me is that death is never the end. Just like the dandelions. The People who survived the camps have been given a new life. Where Hitler tried to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth, God took the few ones left to create a brand new nations. The destruction from humankind cannot stop God from creating beautiful new beginnings. One person is one dandelion. Through our trials and struggles we become uncountable seeds that create new life all across the world.
Even if Hitler would have killed all the Jews, God only needed one to create a brand new nation just like He did with Abraham. When God called Abraham, Abraham did not have children. In fact his wife Sarah was not even able to have children. Yet God took this hopeless situation and turned it into a story of hope. Abraham became the father, the patriarch, of more children then all the stars in the sky and the sand of the ground.

The flowers growing between the rocks inspired me to write the poem ‘A Flower of Hope’. It taught me that even the most hopeless situation is the beginning of new hope, new life and new beginnings. It is a message that I still need today, every day of my life. And a message that can give the world, a world that houses so many people who lost hope, new hope, new life and a new beginning. For God death is never the end but a brand new and hopeful beginning!

Flower of Hope
(The poem in the picture, see below)

A Flower of Hope

Through the rocks,
of earthy ashes,
grows new life,
that gives us hope.
To wipe the tears,
through deep suffering,
from innocent children,
of God the Father.

Without a thought,
the rocks were broken,
leaving the pieces,
of worthy crystals,
out in the open.
Washed away,
by the cold icy rain.
Nobody saw,
too little cared,
and now it flutters,
into oblivion.

Yet God left a sign,
for the world to see,
the worthy lives,
of His loving people.
There in the rocks,
of the oblivion,
grows a flower,
to give us hope,
of a new,
and better life.

 

Tears of Hope

Tears of hope is a poem about the deep suffering of Jesus. I wrote it a couple of years ago and it is based on two visions, I received. Because Easter is slowly approaching I want to share this poem and the stories with you.

The first vision, which was the direct reason for me to write this poem, showed me Jesus praying in Gethsemane. In my vision I walked through Gethsemane. It was night. Dark green and midnight blue colored the scene. I walked past the trees to Jesus. He was on His knees, praying. When I reached Him, I touched His head and He looked up. The fear in His eyes cut deep into my heart. Never have I seen anyone with such deep fear in His eyes. In my vision He grabbed my clothes and held on to me for dear life. The state He was in made me cry. As if someone stabbed a knife in my heart. And every year when Easter arrives, I am reminded of that vision. To this day I can still see the vision vaguely in front of my eyes. And still it makes me cry. As I saw Him like that, all I wanted was to help Him. To make Him happy again. To make Him feel better. But I could do nothing and that brought a hopelessness to my soul. He was doing the right thing but it was also the hardest thing He ever did. The vision gave me a deja-vu-feeling – and from this deja vu point of view – I wrote this poem. The words were nestled deep in my soul, where I easily found them. And I remember that I wrote this poem especially for Jesus. As a way to honor Him and show Him my deep love. The words to this poem can still bring me to tears but I know that I needed to write this. I needed to write this for Jesus, for myself and for the world. To explain to the world the deep suffering of Jesus. He suffered to give life to mankind. Eternal life. In the end His sacrifice became His greatest victory and the greatest hope the world can ever find!

The second vision I received much later but is deeply entwined to this poem. This vision was a snapshot. A photograph so to say. I saw Jesus with the thorn crown on His head. Bruised by the beatings, His face was swollen. There was blood everywhere on His face. I saw Jesus the exact way He looked when He was hanging on the cross. It literally took my breath away and not in the best sense of the word. I cannot say it frightened me but it did shock me. Once again I was confronted with the deep suffering of Jesus. Not because I am such a bad believer or for a lack of repentance. No. I received these visions because I can write about them and share them with the world. Because I can handle them without getting nightmares afterwards. And my love for Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, my deep intense love for them, makes me share this poem and these stories with you today.

For the longest time I remained silent about what God showed me and told me. I kept silent because I thought it was a secret between me and God. What a fool I was! Now I understand that when God gives me something, it is my job to share it with the world, with all of you reading this blog. Hoping that the love, hope and joy Jesus brings, will burn brightly in your heart also. Here is the poem. May it bring you hope!

Tears of Hope

 The green of hope,
covered in the night,
shapes His love,
into a lam.
Allowing His blood,
to touch the earth,
but the mere drops,
do not compare,
His chosen sacrifice.

My broken heart,
catches the tears,
of His innocence.
But my hands are tight.
So in a cloak,
made of grief,
I give Him my love,
the strength He needs,
the support He longs for.

His tears I bring,
to a special place,
build in eternity.
There I plant it,
like a mustard seed,
to turn the sacrifice,
into a brand new tree.

A tree of life,
that brings,
new hope.

Memories (in 2 languages)

At my grandmothers funeral last thursday, my great-aunt recited a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago. In honor of my grandmother I would like to post it here, on my blog, as well. In fact I will first post the English version (I translated it myself. Benefit of knowing two languages!) and right after it, I will post the Dutch version. I hope you like it and that you will be comforted through this poem. Enjoy!

Here is the English version:

Memories

Underneath the blue sky,
pink blossoms blow in the wind.
Entrained with the music,
they bring you to unfamiliar places,
until the wind blows them away,
and they remain a mere memory.

Colors grow in the spring,
to dress the summer in a feast.
Scents emerge,
and make the cold air disappear,
like snow in the sun.
For a moment, Heaven feels all around you.
For a moment, you forget the winter.

When autumn arrives,
and life makes the leaves fall from the trees,
there is only a memory left.
Staggering at the abyss,
you hold tight to what you know –
stored in the chambers of your heart.
But they have evaporated in the sunshine.

Then when winter begins,
and the harsh cold covers the earth,
the white flowers force themselves a way out.
The beauty of the snowdrop flowers,
allows the light to penetrate into the darkness.
The cold is silent and the darkness disappears.

The light of the Father,
that paves a way through nature,
like a springing fountain,
nestles himself deep within the heart,
and form a new memory.
Relying on the memories,
the small child learns to walk,
at the hand of the Father.

Now comes the original, Dutch version:

Herinneringen.

Onder de blauwe hemel,
verwaaien de roze bloesems in de wind.
Meevoerend op de muziek,
voeren ze je naar onbekende oorden,
totdat de wind ze wegvaagt,
en ze slechts een herinnering zijn.

In de lente groeien kleuren,
om de zomer te kleden in feest.
Geuren rijzen op,
en laten de koude lucht verdwijnen,
als sneeuw voor de zon.
Heel even waan je, je in de hemel.
Heel even vergeet je de winter.

Maar als de herfst aanbreekt,
en het leven de bladeren van de bomen laat vallen,
is er slechts een herinnering over.
Wankelend aan de afgrond,
klamp je, je vast aan wat je weet,
opgeslagen in de kamers van je hart.
Maar ze zijn verdampt in de zon.

Dan als de winter aanbreekt,
en de gure kou de aarde bedekt,
dwingen zich de witte bloemen een weg naar buiten.
De schoonheid van de sneeuwklokken,
laten het Licht doordringen in het duister.
De kou zwijgt en het duister verdwijnt.

Het licht van de Vader,
dat als een springende fontein,
zich een weg door de natuur baant,
nestelt zich diep in het hart,
en vormen een nieuwe herinnering.
Bouwend op de herinneringen,
leert het kleine kind te lopen,
aan de hand van de Vader.

 

A Lost Generation

The Poem ‘A lost generation’ is based on two stories from the time I was working as a nurse in retirement homes. I had to stop working as a nurse, when I was in my early twenties, due to fybromyalgia. But these two stories never left my mind and heart.

The first story is about a memory that a patient once shared with me. Due to confidentiality I cannot share names or places but I will tell you what happened.
It was a rare moment that I entered her apartment. Usually my colleagues helped her but this one afternoon it was my turn. She was watching TV and usually didn’t speak much. But suddenly she started talking to me and I felt very privileged that she shared this particular story with me.
She told me about when she was just a little girl. She had a bike and her parents only allowed her on the driveway of their home. “But”, she said, with sparkles in her old eyes, “Whenever father came home, I was allowed to drive to him, straight into his arms. He was a good man, my father”. She repeated this about three times and then went back to her usual silence while watching TV. I had tears in my eyes. She probably lost her father a long time ago but her love for him had only grown. It really touched my heart.

The second story is a sad one. One afternoon I entered a woman’s room. She was sad. I asked her why and she told me that she missed her family. I suggested to her that maybe she could phone her children. Maybe they could come over? She looked at me and said, “Oh dear, that is so sweet of you to say but my children have their own life now, and I am not a part of that anymore” She continued saying that she understood. That they lived in the city now and had houses and family to take care of. She just didn’t fit in their life. She also said, “I worked hard to give him a good education. I worked day and night to give him everything I never got. He is living his life now”.
Hearing her say that, my heart broke. This woman was stuck to an oxygen machine and could only leave her room for afternoon lunch. Otherwise she was always contained to her room. Her family hardly ever paid a visit.
About three weeks after this conversation with her, she passed away. I was sitting at the reception desk when her son came from her room and was about to leave. I overheard him say to his wife, “Out of all the days she had to die, did she really have to chose this one? She knew have a meeting today and I am going to be late”. He was so angry that his work was interrupted by the death of his mother. He continued by saying that he hoped it would only last 20 minutes because he really had to go. My colleagues and I looked on in complete astonishment. Apparently his work was more important than his mother.

These two moments happened over ten years ago and both women have passed away. But the stories have always remained in my heart. Sometimes I feel like the elderly are a forgotten generation. They have beaten themselves up for their children, but now they are being pushed away by the business of life. In my work as a nurse I had many people with fantastic children to take care of them like the woman in the first story. But there were also cases like the second story, where children brought their parents to a retirement home, so they didn’t have to look after their parents anymore. Such sad stories that you can’t fix as a nurse. The only thing I could ever do is listen to these people. However the love these people gave back, was a great reward and I miss being a nurse sometimes. I mean, writing is my life but so was caring for people. Both jobs gave me a sense of meaning and purpose. I was doing something good, something that helped people in whatever way they needed.

About two years ago I decided to write a poem about these two memories from my time as a nurse. It is a dedication to a generation that I never forgot. And that I know God doesn’t forget either. A poem for all the lovely people I was blessed to meet. A thank you to their trust in me as a nurse. And a thank you to God for giving me the chance to help these people, even if it was only for a limited time.

A lost generation

The old eyes look at me,
telling me the many stories,
of a long-gone past.
Their wrinkles give me,
a cup with wrung-out tears.
And their thin grey hair,
whisper the secret wisdom.
I wish the walls had ears.

Time is running out,
but your excellent politeness,
waves your loneliness away.
Your heart is focused solemnly on love.
For this fast-paced life is too quick.
Your heart cannot keep up,
and your memory loses the battle.
I wish the world would slow down.

An orphan are you,
left by those who carry your heart,
leaving your old soul,
with many paper-wrapped excuses,
yet your love does not wither away,
and your mouth speaks,
your wise understanding.
I wish the blind eyes could see you.

My heart holds the old eyes,
and my eyes shed the tears,
for a lost generation.