Teaching the Holocaust through literature to my 8th grade students always evokes strong emotions, as it should, that reverberate through my daily life. This year we read Night by Elie Wiesel, a haunting and vivid story about an Auschwitz survivor who, despite the horrors he once faced, continues to have faith in humanity while confronting injustice and indifference in the world. In an Oprah Winfrey interview he uses his favorite words, “And yet” forcing my own reflections about what that phrase means. He faced unimaginable evil, and yet still believes in God, in humanity. Thoughts of the 1.5 million innocent children who perished continue to remind me how incredibly lucky I am to come home from work to the smiling faces of my own preschoolers.
At age three, in what was the scariest night of my life, my daughter had a seizure…a moment I relieved for countless nights afterwards. In the two years since after learning she has a seizure disorder I was always grateful “and yet” sad and confused with the struggles our family now faced. Looking back, the uncertainty of her diagnosis was the most difficult moment. Since that time medication has kept seizures under control. “And yet” every time she wakes in the night my heart races. Could it be a seizure? A worrier by nature (or genetics perhaps since I seemed to have inherited this particular trait from my mother), I was once again disheartened two weeks ago to sit across from a doctor to hear another diagnosis. This time, ADHD. I educate myself wondering how these co-existing conditions will manifest themselves as my daughter begins to transition into a formative school year next Fall.Rather than spending time wondering why this precious little girl can’t seem to cut a break, Elie Wiesel’s favorite phrase reverberates in my mind. I’m determined to be her #1 advocate and be sure she enjoys every advantage available to her. I’m grateful for the comfortable life we were given void of even a fraction of the struggles victims of injustice, past and present, endure. Are there challenges? Of course. “And yet…”