Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Anne Frank, Miep Gies, and you


“Not a day goes by that I do not grieve for them," said Miep Gies, who protected Anne Frank, and saved her diary.

She carried those memories and, I'm sure, grieved for the Franks every day. And now she's gone. It's up to the rest of us to remember them and tell their stories; and Miep Gies.'

I was just thinking of those closer-than-you-realize connections and my college gospel choir director, La Joyce.

We would always sing for the Martin Luther King, Jr Convocation on campus. We'd hear those famous words reiterated, and distinguished speakers (Dr. Samuel D. Proctor, the 1st time) would remind us of the importance of what he did, as giant pictures of the key people and events from the Civil Rights Mov't would flash across the screen on stage. Martin, Rosa Parks, fire hoses...

It was years later, dropping in on a rehearsal, with all of us bunched around the piano, that someone asked,

"Miss LaJoyce, tell us about Mrs. Parks again."

Then, LaJoyce- who I've known for YEARS- suddenly recounted how, when she was a child, they would go up to Detroit and visit relatives who lived on the same block as Mrs. Parks. And, when the kids were given money for the candy store, she'd try to hurry past Mrs. Park's house. But it never worked. She'd always, almost make it, and then hear,

"La Joyyyyyyyyyce?"

And LaJoyce would miss out on her candy run b/c Mrs. Parks would ask her to come inside. Then, they would have tea and Mrs. Parks would ask her to recite Bible passages. (and, I bet, sing)

I was blown away.

A year later, at the MLK Convocation, I heard those words and I saw those pictures flash above the stage, and LaJoyce standing with the choir on the stage, and I realized: They -MLK, Mrs. Parks, Dr Proctor, all of 'em- were just regular people, who we just missed, via being born a little late and in another place. But our friends and family and neighbors DID know them, or go to listen to them, or had tea with them, and we are all. so. closely connected., and that what we do matters immensely.

And, even if we aren't living those lives, we can tell their stories. ....over and over. (it's better than reality television)

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open and those stories close... you never know....

No one can predict those moments that, in hindsight, appear to be an encounter with destiny - Mrs Parks wasn't expecting to be "Rosa Parks: Icon of the Civil Rights." And what Miep Gies saw was a family in trouble, and a pile of papers that belonged to a little girl...


It's with a heavy heart that I read LaJoyce's announcement on facebook today:

On January 9, 2010; my mother ,Minne P. Daniel, passed from this world into glory. She is at peace now and left a legacy of phenomenal proportion. She is the most amazing woman I have every known. She gave so much love and was loved by so many in return. Thank you for her life and her witness. Please pray for my family.

If you're so inclined, keep them in your prayers. Thanks