I would like to introduce you to a wonderful lady, which I recently discovered on the internet. Her name is Alice Sommer Herz and she celebrates her 109th birthday this month. She is the oldest living Holocaust survivor and also a renowned concert pianist.
What makes her so exceptional is that she is living proof of the "Power of a Thankful Heart". She has lived a life of optimism, gratitude and forgiveness even in the face of unspeakable human suffering during her time in a Nazi concentration camp at Terezin. She lost members of her family, including her husband who was sent to Dachau and died there 6 weeks before the war ended. You can read much about her life on the internet but here are a few facts about Alice...
- She still lives alone in a flat in London and part of her routine is playing the piano for 2 to 3 hours a day.
- She has a remarkable memory in her music and in her busy schedule involving interviews with journalists, students and musicians.
- She had cancer at 83 years of age and is now a 26 year cancer survivor.
- She is the subject of a bestselling book, A Garden of Eden in Hell, recalling the events of the concentration camps. In 2010, a film called Everything is A Present, was written and aired on the BBC in recognition of her life story.
The following are a few of her affirmations:
- She never hated the Nazi for what they did and says she never will...."HATRED EATS THE SOUL OF THE HATER, NOT THE HATED".
- She says that she has so much to learn and enjoy...."I HAVE NO SPACE NOR TIME FOR PESSIMISM AND HATE".
- She says, "Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love.... LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL, NATURE AND MUSIC ARE BEAUTIFUL".
- She says that she looks for the nice things in life. "I know about the bad things, but I look only for the good things. This is the reason I am so old....OPTIMISM HAS CONTRIBUTED TO MY LONGEVITY".
- She is adamant that music preserved her sanity and her life while bringing hope into the lives of countless others and likens the experience as being close to the divine...."MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE AND MUSIC SAVES ME STILL".
The above is a video interview with Alice, which was made when she was 98. Now, fourteen years later, she is still going strong. Alice is living proof of the power of gratitude, forgiveness and optimism in an often negative and harsh world.
You can also view link at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5VTkQKgxkY
There are many unsung heroes and heroines around us. We rub shoulders with them every day as we go through our ordinary days of living. They are the silent ones, whose personal tragedies and triumphs are only known within themselves in the their book of life as they live out each page and each chapter. They may not be known to the world but they are known to God who counts them as stars in His patch called heaven.
I invite you to join me for Part 2 of this two part series on the Power of a Thankful Heart next Monday (Dec. 3). Also, I hope to have another photo show regarding the diversity of what can "turn-up" in God's handiwork using the elements of nature......
Cold weather + Water sprinkler + Pasture grass & weeds = ICE ART
Until then, here is a whimsical riddle for you.... "My belt holds my pants up, but the belt loops hold my belt up. Who is the real hero??"