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June 12, 2005

Anne Frank

Today is Anne Frank's birthday.

She received the diary that would make her live forever on June 12, 1942, for her birthday. Less than a month after starting her diary, her family was forced into hiding.

I remember first reading her diary when I was 11 years old, and it was my first encounter with what I would call "evil". I read the book, and I was the same age as Anne ... and I knew she died, but I could not get my little 11 year old brain around it. There was rage in me, a kind of rage I had never experienced before. I was so ANGRY that she died and I didn't know where to put my anger. The Nazis, sure ... but most of them were dead and gone. I remember vividly kneeling at my bed in my room, with tears streaming down my face, SCREAMING at God. He seemed more to blame than anyone else. I was screaming, "WHY, WHY ... HOW COULD YOU LET HER DIE, GOD???" I have never forgotten that moment. It was a crucible for me. My soul grew in leaps and bounds with that one book. I entered into a more complex adult world, where there aren't always neat little answers, where terrible things happen, where there is no deus ex machina. My belief in God was not shaken, but I sure was pissed off at him for a good long while. I like to imagine that He's okay with that kind of rage. It means we are human, we are not indifferent to one another ... God can take our rage. At least that's how I like to think about it.

Here is how Anne Frank's diary ends:

"Believe me, I'd like to listen, but it doesn't work, because if I'm quiet and serious, everyone thinks I'm putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I'm not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can't keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if ... if only there were no other people in the world."

Posted by Sheila at June 12, 2005 08:38 AM

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