Skip to content

Seeing the beauty everywhere

April 8, 2013

All day, I have been wanting to write a blog post commemorating this Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). I was going to write about why it’s important to never forget and how we have a responsibility to ensure a tragedy like the Holocaust never happens again. I was going to discuss the importance of remembering that 6 million Jews is not simply a number – that number represents 6 million individuals whose lives were cut short by one of the worst events in world history. It is important to remember these things; it’s why in Israel earlier today, sirens sounded around the country indicating a two-minute moment of silence in which everyone stopped what they were doing and cars stopped on highways to observe this day. It is also why the University of Kansas Hillel is putting on a Holocaust remembrance ceremony later this week.

But I tried to write a blog post about that, and because I visited Yad Vashem earlier this year, I thought I had a lot of profound things to say. Maybe I did. But that’s not what this blog post is about.

As I followed various Jewish or Israel-related Twitter accounts today, I came across a link to the video below. This one-minute video is of Alice Herz-Sommer, a 109-year-old Holocaust survivor, speaking about what she believes is the secret to life.

“Optimism and looking for the good. Life is beautiful. Have to be happy, to admire, to thank, thankful that we are living. Wherever you look is beauty. I know about the bad things, but I look to the good things.” – Alice Herz-Sommer

Wow. Amazing. Chills.

Ms. Herz-Sommer’s strength is unfathomable to me. This woman, this 109-year-old survivor of the Holocaust, understands that despite all the bad things, life is beautiful. I don’t know her background. I saw this video today and read that she survived the Holocaust and pressed play. She lived through one of the most faith-shattering events in recent history, and she still says that we need to be optimistic and look for the good and that there is beauty everywhere we look.

You know, we, as a 21st-century society in general, kind of sort of suck sometimes. We run from one place to the next, multitask, spend hours on technology as opposed to face-to-face conversations, find the easiest way to do things, are competitive, always look to get ahead, complain about trivial things, hold grudges for no reason, are passive-aggressive, lie, cheat, manipulate, act fake, what have you. Sure, some of these things are positive; I don’t doubt that. But we get so caught up in stupid things. We get so obsessed with what the world we live in deems important. And it’s so frustrating to me because I know I do it too. I know I take part in many of the complaints I just mentioned. And I can’t understand why I spend my time worrying about poor weather or a boring night when a woman like Ms. Herz-Sommer, whose life I cannot even imagine having lived, is able to do something that should be so simple: see the beauty.

Her message makes me want to live my life differently, better. So I will. When I walk the streets of my beautiful campus, I will gaze at the sun, or clouds, and admire nature. When I maneuver across parking lots to get to work, I will appreciate my job and my ability to walk there. When I spend time with friends, I will be grateful for their presence in my life. I will think more optimistically in general.

So the goal of my Yom Hashoah blog post isn’t, as I intended, to remind you to remember the names of those who perished in the Holocaust and of those who survived the tragedy. The goal of this post is to share Herz-Sommer’s message, to remind you that there is beauty wherever you look because life is beautiful, and we are alive. And we have a responsibility to look for the good.


From → Sophomore

Leave a Comment


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: