This past week I had an amazing experience that only God could have orchestrated, oh boy do I love when He has His own plans in my life!
This particular day started with a ice skating adventure with my little sister on a pond out back in a field that was about a half mile hike all together. It was lots of fun lacing up our skates and feeling so incredibly Canadian as we glided around the reeds on the rink God had created!
I then hung up my skates and went to the city on a date with my man and the adventure continued! We took a few cute pictures by a railroad bridge and then hit up Starbucks for some rejuvenation!
Jeffrey’s grandma has been sick of late but is now in a rehabilitation centre. We continued our little gallivant and went to visit her! That visit would have been encouraging enough just as it was planned in our carnal minds, but Jesus Christ had a much better plan that would leave me forever changed!
We entered the room where grandma was staying. Making some small talk with grandma and grandpa I noticed a book that seemed to be mainly photographs from 1939-1945… World War 2! I would never claim to be an expert on the world wars but those two particular wars tend to fascinate me (in a completely un-ghoulish sense of the word, trust me).
I went and picked up the book and started flipping through it asking grandpa what year he was born. When I discovered that he was born the year 1932 I was intrigued! I inquired if he had any memories of the war from Canada! He responded that the grandma’s roommate was born 1930 and I heard a affirming grunt from across the room. I turned to look at the lady. She looked small in her wheelchair but strong in spirit. Her eyes were so soft, I felt as though she was looking straight through me. Grandma then said “Dear me I’ve forgotten your name all ready! What was it again?!” The lady spoke in accent thick enough to tell she wasn’t originally from here but her English was fairly good; “Maria.”. “Oh right!”, Grandma exclaimed, “Maria is from Poland. Maria never wastes food, ever.” Maria seemed to awaken at that statement and proclaimed “Yes, I never waste food and it hurts me when people do waste food. Canada wastes so much food! I always eat everything on my plate because I know what if feels like to be hungry.”
I could barely contain my excitement! I didn’t know though if the war was a sensitive subject or not, but as soon as I started asking questions she seemed very open to talking with me.
Maria was the oldest of six children, born in Poland. The war broke out when she was around nine years old. Maria knows what it is like to be cold, hungry and afraid. As I was talking to her though I noticed one thing, Maria didn’t seem bitter. She had every right to be angry and bitter at the world or what it turned her childhood into; a struggle for survival. She was forced to work in a German factory at the age of 14. She lived in a camp with 30,000 people after the war and would stand in line for hours just to get a bowl of soup. Her family was dislocated from the country they had called home, to Germany. In my mind I would think you’d be angry at what Hitler had done to your life. At how war turned your life around and gave you memories you’d rather not have. Maria was soft. She didn’t seem to hold contempt against the world.
I don’t know if she had Jesus Christ as her savior but if I ever get the honor of seeing dear Maria again I want to learn more from her and maybe I can have the lasting impact on her life that she made on mine.
Having that God ordained meeting was one that actually really convicted me. Its honestly not worth it to hold bitterness, it kills you on the inside. If Maria had held bitterness in her heart to what happened to her and other children like her then it would’ve been hard for her to ever move on in life. She hates war. She made that clear. But she chooses to use her experience for good not evil.