A few months ago I found myself in a rehabilitation center for elderly people, supporting my grandmother after she had taken a fall. While she was napping, I would visit with the other patients. As luck would have it, I met Miriam.

Within ten minutes of meeting her, she was intent on sharing her life story. As a young girl in Poland, she had survived the Holocaust by living in the woods for two years. Her mission in life was to tell her story so that others may learn from her experience. In fact, she was interviewed on March 25, 1991 by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, and was more than happy to have me film her with my iPhone in the hall just outside her room.

Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that celebrates LIGHT. In this time of uncertainty, let’s take a moment and be grateful for the goodness in our lives. Let’s make a conscious effort to put more light into this world with our actions and our deeds. Miriam’s story is a reminder how destructive humanity can be, as well as a lesson in the power of the human spirit to survive despite the most challenging circumstances.

Stories have the power to heal, to educate, and to connect us to one another. In the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing more stories of people that I have met who are simply LIT UP. Remember, when you have the courage to share your voice, it empowers you, but it also empowers everyone you meet. Watch Miriam’s story and see how it changes the way you think or the way you feel, right now.

Let there be light. And let it start with YOU.

Have a story of courage to share? Please do so in the comments below. Even small acts of bravery deserve praise. Let us cheer you on.


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