Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Influencers: Remembering Corrie

  As an author (who really needs to get back to writing the sequel to Tarnished, I've been thinking a lot about how much it matters who has influenced me.  I'm going to begin putting up posts every now and then that share who the "influencers" are in my life.  My heroes, basically.  Because if I was a reader, I would want to know.

  So, for the first of these, and in memory of the recent anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, I'm sharing about Corrie Ten Boom.

Corrie was also an author.  She wrote a book about the illegal activities she was involved with during WWII, when her country of Holland was overtaken by Nazi Germany.  She was involved with the Dutch Underground and ended up being put in a Nazi Concentration Camp for failing to reveal the hiding place of the Jews she had hidden in her home.  She didn't get started on this stuff until she was in her late forties, I think.  You can tell she was a rather extraordinary person just by hearing this much, right?

(Image above right which shows some of the Holocaust's victims belongs to Color-Her-World.  You can view this artist's work at )

In her book,  The Hiding Place, Corrie shares about surviving the Concentration Camp (Ravensbruck).  It's a pretty amazing story.  Here's a link to the book on Amazon: .   But she begins by sharing about her early life, growing up in the Victorian era.   One of those early stories left a lasting impression on me for how I choose to write.

(The above photograph is of Corrie and her family taken in 1902, Corrie is on the extreme right.
This story actually has more to do with her father, who seems to be quite an extraordinary man as well.  Little Corrie, who was around age 10 or 11, was with her father, a watchmaker, at the train station when the story picks up.  It is here that she asks him a question that had been troubling her.

      "'Father, what is sex-sin?'
      He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing.  At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor.
     'Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?' he said.
      I stood up and tugged at it.  It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
    'It's too heavy," I said.
    'Yes,' he said.  'And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load.  It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge.  Some knowledge is too heavy for children.  When you are older and stronger you can bear it.  For now you must trust me to carry it for you.'
    And I was satisfied.  More than satisfied--wonderfully at peace.  There were answers to this and all my hard questions--for now I was content to leave them in my father's keeping." 
-page 26, The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom

I love this!  Isn't it beautiful?  A father, protecting his child from hard truths that could hurt or harm her before she is ready to hear them?  It reminds me of that one movie, Life is Beautiful.  Few of us have fathers who understand to this extent that a child should be protected in this way.

Now, keep in mind that Corrie was raised at the turn of the century, when sex was never discussed, even at home.   In our society today (which is rather infiltrated with "sex-sin", and therefore might require an explanation a little earlier), we might answer somewhat differently a child who is age 10 or 11.  That's not really my point.   I'm talking about the way Corrie's father valued his daughter's heart.  Like the way a millionaire might care for his Rolls Royce.  The millionaire is not going to drive his Rolls through a bad part of city or over roads that he'd take his beater Jeep on.  Like a man would recognize the worth of a ridiculously priced car, this father recognized the value of his child's innocence.  (Artist of image at left is kawaiikitteny, whose work you can learn more about at the link under the photo.)

Recently, I was hanging out with friends who have children around the same age as we do.  The father was boasting about their 4 year old son, and how the boy could watch anything and it didn't seem to affect him in the least.  The man had showed his son Batman, the Dark Knight.  I cringed.  What about that precious innocence?  To see such dark visions; images of lunacy, hatred, fear, affects me, as an adult.  What must it do to a four year old child?

So this is a legacy that my friend Corrie has passed on to me:  a desire to cover the children.  To bear some of the harder burdens for them, until they are older.  I keep this in mind as I write.  I do not wish to enter the deeper dungeons.  There is a place for that at another time or with another author but mostly I trust you will find my stories free of the heavier burdens that would be more than a child should be asked to carry.

Image at right is by artist *Zindy.  You can find her incredible portfolio at

Another friend and influencer (who you will hear more about another time), L.M. Montgomery, put it this way:   "A pine forest is just as real as a pigsty, but a darn sight nicer to be in."

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