Doug and I saw the movie Woman in Gold last night. It is the true story of an elderly Jewish woman who fights to get a Klimt masterpiece, Adele, rightfully restored to her family. During the Nazi takeover of Austria, her very wealthy family was stripped bare of their treasures, including the painting, which had been a commissioned portrait of her Aunt Adele. Newly married, she and her opera-singer husband fled Austria and immigrated to the United States, leaving her ailing father, stalwart mother, and a treasure trove of family heirlooms behind. All were lost to the Nazis.
The woman, Maria, is now a woman’s clothing store-owner in Los Angeles. She resides in a modest bungalow, but her refined tastes now mingle with her intensely focused immigrant work ethic, and, in her 80s, she presents like a perfect lemon icebox cake at a potluck supper…humble, with good posture.
Our friends here in Clarkston remind me of Maria. Each was an owner of a trove of family treasures. Their treasure may have been an education, a career, a specialty. Their treasure may have been a family name, a family system, or a connection to the land. Their treasure may have been a treasure like Maria’s – some work of art, tangible and priceless. It may have simply been something priceless to them – a home, a favorite chair, a picture, an heirloom.
No matter the treasure, it is lost to the ravenous looting of injustice.
Nevertheless, they hold their heads high. Humble, with good posture.
Tomorrow night, the Refuge Coffee Co. truck launch party happens. The trainees at the party will be those who have forfeited treasure, but who face the world with dignity and with the knowledge that they are not who they seem.
There will be others of us at the party who have also lost treasures along the way. We have forfeited small things privately or large things publicly. Loss is universal.
May we learn to walk humbly, with good posture.
May we rest assured that the gifts of this life often come wrapped in the trappings of loss, and may we lean on the grace of Him who urges, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
Join us tomorrow night. We’ll be celebrating from 6-8 pm at 4170 Ponce de Leon. We’d love to see you there!