5,000

 

During World War II, starting in the winter of 1940-41, in and around the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in Nazi-occupied France, 5,000 Jews were sheltered…by 5,000 Christians.

The Protestant Huguenot villagers, mostly poverty-stricken themselves, protected the Jews at the risk of their own lives. Every home took in Jews, fed and protected them, right under the noses of the Gestapo. They were often hidden in the countryside when the authorities came to investigate. For four years they defied the Nazi régime and a French government that was collaborating with the Nazis. The citizens of Le Chambon sheltered these strangers, educated their children, and arranged for hundreds to flee to Switzerland or Spain via an intricate, wooded, underground escape route.

True to their beliefs, some citizens of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon penned a letter to the Nazi-influenced Vichy government, feeling spiritually obligated to admit that they were indeed sheltering Jewish refugees. They were clearly defiant in their determination to protect them – “We feel obliged to tell you that there are among us a certain number of Jews…whose only fault is to be born in another religion…We have Jews. You’re not getting them.”

No resident of Le Chambon, it is believed, ever turned away or betrayed a single Jewish refugee.

            “I do not know what a Jew is.  I know only human beings.”
André Trocmé, the Huguenot pastor of Le Chambon


5,000
They were welcomed.

Given shelter and refuge,
without hesitation,
on the edge of violence.
Protected, without question.
Given food and a future,
at the risk of everything,
in open defiance.

One life saved
For every hero
From a man
From a horrific plan
From a power
Aiming for zero

Five thousand.
Spared a hateful demise
Five thousand.
Strong and assured
Five thousand.
Sharing one single purpose
Five thousand…
And no one said a word


Hiding strangers.
Sharing what little they had,
without hesitation,
for a number of years.
A beacon of hope.
Sharing an indomitable spirit,
without reservation,
and despite their fears.

Committed, as one
For simple humanity
To do what’s right
To the preservation of life 
To an immaculate deception
In the face of the enemy

Five thousand.
Hidden amongst them
Five thousand.
Conviction, silently heard
Five thousand.
Sharing one selfless will
Five thousand…
And no one said a word

                                               Gary Greentree


Happy are those hungry and thirsty of justice…for they will be satisfied.”
-André Trocmé

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Confined

“People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it.”
– Jim Morrison20150930_213223[1]

 Confined

He goes to bed each night
alone with the ache
 His internal conflict
keeping them both awake
Wakes up weary every morning
lying beside his vanity
With a smile for his children
and a check mark for his sanity

Physical versus mental
in a battle of his pain
Sensory and substantial
is the signal from his brain
From necessity and habit
you conceal what you feel
It’s mind against matter
with wounds that won’t heal

Scar tissue and time
The confines of the mind
Self-motivation
Self-preservation
Selfishly suppressing the pain
Scar tissue and time
A safe place to hide
He
fights the pain

His wounds remain
Sustaining himself from inside

An actor playing himself
in the true story of he
Absorbed in the role of everyman
and that’s who he has to be

Scripted by circumstance
he has lines on every page
Penned for his own purposes
he is resplendent on his stage

 
A song written in his head
but needed by his heart

Lyrics intended for healing
they’re upbeat from the start
Motivation for mind and body
 Affected, but indeed sincere
He gives a selfless performance
for everyone to hear

Scar tissue and time
The complexities of the mind
Self-medication
Self-preservation
Selfishly deflecting the pain
Scar tissue and time
Enduring another day
Different roots of pain

No Ledger or Cobain
Determined to go another way

Scar tissue and time
You conceal what you feel
It’s mind against matter
When wounds never heal

Scar tissue and time
In the confines of your mind
You ascend another day
Starting from behind

 

Selfless

       Selfless

These thoughts
were written
with both
respect and regret
about The Most
Selfless Person
that I
have ever met

I can’t imagine
a kinder man
Quiet of words
and soft of heart
A loving Father
Wonderful Grandfather
Doing far more
than just his part

His time
became your time
Always going
out of his way
Whenever anyone
needed anything
At any hour
On any day

Tireless Volunteerhockey ice
Generous and warm
Patient and calm
Unselfish and true
What seemed like
nothing to him
meant everything
to you

Always thinking
of others first
That’s just how
he chose to live
Giving everything
of himself, and more
Until he had
no more to give

Robert Joseph Leo
Friend to many
Known to most
as Bobby Breen
He was Bob, to me
And he was also 
The Most Selfless Man
that I
have ever seen

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