Miep Gies was a young office worker when she hid and supported Anne Frank and her family, protecting them from Nazis and the danger of being sent to a concentration camp. After Anne and her family were betrayed and captured, Miep collected Anne’s diaries and eventually returned them to Anne’s father, Otto, who survived the war. That diary has been read by millions of people now, inspiring acts of heroism and showing, in a very intimate way, the horror of WWII as viewed through the eyes of an innocent, complex, lovely, vibrant girl, Anne.
Miep wasn’t famous or rich or particularly accomplished, yet she managed through her actions to shine a very bright light on hate and replace it with a more powerful portrait of love. Anne, too, wasn’t famous or rich or accomplished, although we can see now how she was a gifted author, but her words have been inspiring and a powerful force against evil in the world.
No matter our position or age or wealth or gender, we each can make a contribution that makes the world more bright.
What is the light you can turn on in a dark room?
What tools do we need before we start to improve the world? What are we waiting for? Perhaps we are waiting for extra money or time. Perhaps we are waiting for retirement. Perhaps we are waiting to get all our own issues squared away first before we start thinking about helping someone else with theirs. Perhaps we are waiting for someone to ask us for help.
But consider Anne Frank. Forced to live in hiding to avoid the Nazi round-up and murder of Jews, she had little contact with the outside world. She, herself, was in mortal danger around the clock. She was just a kid, really, someone we think of helping rather than being the helper. And yet her attitude was so full of optimism and hope, it continues to shine now, decades later, lighting a weary world.
What a difference an attitude makes! She didn’t wait for the right time or resources. She didn’t wait until she could have a huge impact on the world. She didn’t wait until she was old or famous or wealthy. She didn’t even wait until she was safe. She started right then with what she had. A cheerful disposition, a concern for her family and the others in hiding with her, a willingness to step forward and try to make the world a better place.
What can you do to improve the world? Isn’t it wonderful that you can start right now?