I Still Believe…a Tribute to Elie Wiesel

elie-wiesel1Hi. My name is Rob and I am a serial people watcher. There; I admit it. I watch the news channels daily – my family would say I’m addicted. I admit I am addicted to all people and to watching them live their lives.

Yesterday, I watched the hostage siege ending in Bangladesh with 20 hostages and all the terrorists killed. The news of Elie Wiesel’s death followed closely, and this morning I checked in with CBS News and learned of the bombings in Baghdad on the last day of Ramadan.

People. Just people being people.

I admit that at times I feel discouraged and sad. I am sad that one of the greatest human beings of all time has left the planet, and I grieve for all victims of violence all over the globe. I know that if I choose, I can sink into despair, hopelessness, and depression. At times I wonder if I should; if perhaps it would be easier not to feel. The beloofs of despair and hopelessness are well known and easy to access:

“The world is going to hell in a handbasket”
“Maybe someday my ship will come in”
“Some people are just meant to be alone”
“Death is inevitable”
“What’s the point?”

And of course, those who practice hate and murder have their own beloofs. I will not put them into words here, because uttering such  beloofs gives them power and meaning. We have heard them before; at times even from those who seek to lead. They are beloofs of racism, hate, arrogance, ego, and fear.

LakeunionBut then, as my wife Mary Anne and I sat having dinner last night on the deck of one of our favorite Seattle restaurants with a wonderful sunset view of Lake Union, I found myself watching the other diners and the wait staff mingling and weaving around the tables. As I savored the wonderful oysters and wedge salad I had been served,  tears started to well up in my eyes as I soaked up the joy and love I witnessed all around me. Couples in deep conversation of love and romance. Groups of friends sharing their stories of the day, drinking and laughing together.

People. Just people being people.

I know deep in my soul and throughout every cell of my heart that the vast majority of human beings are pure and moral and ethical and loving at their core. Those who are not can create a great deal of suffering and chaos, but I believe they will never prevail. Elie Wiesel knew that better than anyone. Having survived the horror of Auschwitz at just 15, Elie Wiesel never lost his belief in people. He also knew he must use his voice – use his words for hope and good.

In the concentration camps, we discovered this whole universe where everyone had his place. The killer came to kill, and the victims came to die.

Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.

There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.

When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.
Elie Wiesel

Here are my mantras in support of my belief in people:

May I always remember that at our core, we human beings are loving, moral, caring people.
May I rise up to my highest self above those who are misguided in their beloofs and actions, maintaining my true sense of hope and gratitude.
May I use my clear, conscious, true voice as an instrument of gratitude and healing for all who might commit or suffer violence among my brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind.

May you rest in peace brother Elie, and may we all teach peace.