In camp, too, a man might draw the attention of a comrade working next to him to a nice view of the setting sun shining through the tall trees of the Bavarian woods (as in the famous watercolor by Dürer), the same woods in which we had built an enormous, hidden munitions plant. One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, “How beautiful the world could be.”
~ Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)
I read the above passage in Viktor Frankl’s powerful book, Man’s Search for Meaning, describing his experiences in the death camps of Nazi Germany.
And while this amazing small book could inspire a thousand blog posts, as one who takes any photographs of this very phenomenon, this simple passage really grabbed me.
Can you imagine? The very same ever-changing sky – the clouds, the colors, the reflections, the sunsets – that so inspire me, also inspired the brutalized men who were locked inside Auschwitz.
Divine inspiration in the midst of devastating persecution.
I find that thought humbling, and at the same time, absolutely awe inspiring.
And I will never take it for granted!