How to Really Live {Part 2} . . . . . . . . . . . {The Rest of the Story}

There are some stories you can’t quite get out of your head.

Our last boy, he comes to me yesterday, crawls up on my lap and asks me in this whisper:

“You know how you told us that story, Mama, about Kolbe? What happened to Gajowniczek afterward, Mama? After Kolbe said the Nazis could kill him instead of Gajowniczek? What happened right after?”

The light is long across the floor, pushing back all the shadows.

Malakai leans into me.







“What happened? The other inmates at Auschwitz were angry with Gajowniczek — because they had lost Kolbe. They had lost a confidant. They lost a man who loved them. They’d lost the man they called the Christ of Auschwitz. They actually say that, because the other prisoners at Auschwitz so wanted the love of Kolbe back, they became angry and mean to Gajowniczek.”

“That’s awful.”

Malakai whispers it, eyes not leaving mine.

And I nod. And Christ loved the world and He died in our stead and the world looks around and says but where is Christ? Where is Christ in Christians?

Is the world angry because they so want the love of Christ but the Christians, who say Christ lives in them, don’t act anything like Christ? Is one of the causes of atheism today all the people who say Christ died for them but they don’t live like Christ?

My chest hurts like Malakai’s eyes.

“So I guess, right after, Gajowniczeck felt…” What do I say?

“Guilty?” Malakai’s searching my eyes.

“Yes, they say that. That Gajowniczek felt guilty for begging to keep his life while Kolbe willingly laid down his life for Gajowniczek. They did say he felt that. But maybe you would too a bit? That you had desperately wanted to hold on to your life — when someone was freely willing to give up his life for yours.”

Malakai’s nodding his head, his eyes filling up, and I cup his face in my hands and I want to take this all away for him but maybe there’s no taking this away for any of us — only living into the utter reality of it.

“But you know what, Malakai?” He shifts on my lap. “It was more than guilty — they say that Gajowniczek felt grateful. They say that in “his gratitude for the self-sacrifice of Maximilian Kolbe, Gajowniczek devoted much of the rest of his life to promoting knowledge of [Kolbe]…. His mission to ‘repay a debt.’ ”

“Like that song?” Malakai starts the chorus a bit off tune.

I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe…”

Yes, like that. Do I tell him?

That Gajowniczek traveled thousands of miles over the course of his life, throughout Europe and the United States, telling the story of Kolbe’s life and love.

That because Kolbe had given his life for Gajowniczek, that Gajowniczek couldn’t stop telling Kolbe’s story, his name on his lips wherever he went. Can I make a 9-year-old boy understand? Make my heart understand?

That when someone gives their life for you, you feel more than guilty — you feel so grateful that you give your life for them. That you give your life away.

That when Someone gives up His life for you, you can’t help it — His name is always on your lips.  When a Man’s life is right in you — of course His name is right on your lips.

When Someone gives their life for you , you are so indebted to him — you live in service to Him. And it’s more than lip service. 

When Someone dies for you, you have to make your life count for something.

You have to make your life worth something — because His sacrifice had value.

When you’ve literally been saved: You are not your own. When the heart of another man beats in you, your life is His too. You have to live for Him. You have to give your life for something like He gave their life for you.

I tap on Malakai’s chest. Tap on it like a knocking, like a steady beat.

“Jesus died to give you a new heart — His. Your salvation is like organ donation — so how can you live with anything less than appreciation? Adoration? Flat-out dedication?

If your every heart beat comes at the very cost of Someone else giving you His — would you waste it?

And I can see it.

How this story stuck in one boy’s head —

lodges into the depths of his one beating heart.

The First Part of this Story:  How to Really Live {Part 1}