I hear your cries, you little voices of children . . .Muriel Rekeyser, “Seventh Elegy: The Dream-Singing Elegy
Check out full elegy here https://kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/muriel-rukeyser-763879/
Take a moment to think about Sara’s life in the barn. What are the biggest challenges of living in this space? Consider the actions of the Beaumiers. What makes their choice to protect Sara so profound? Given that they understand the risk they are taking, why do you believe they choose to do so anyway? Why is this decision a perfect example of the power of kindness to change hearts and save lives?
The Lafleurs and the Beaumiers are neighbors who had a close relationship. The Nazis ruled by fear. How does fear dissolve relationships? Could things have been different if the two families had talked? In what ways are we held captive in our own fears that keep us from relationship?
Prayer is vital to Sara as she lives in the barn. Praying to not be found, praying for the war to end, praying that she would see her father again, praying that the Beaumiers would be safe. Prayer also brought Sara hope. What are the things you pray for consistently? What hope do you find in these prayers?
How do you pass the time? What card games do you like to play? There a few here to try
Vivienne takes great care of Sara each day. Who has taken care of you? Who have you taken care of? How does being taken care of make you feel special?
A typical French market in the 1940’s. Vivienne visited one every day and then circled around to the barn
Sara had hours and hours of time alone that she tried to fill. Not that it is the same, but we all experienced the isolation from COVID over the past few years. How did you fill your time? What dreams did you dream? Where did your imagination take you? How did Sara’s white bird give her hope as she roamed the outside world?
If you wanted to get in your house with no one seeing, could you do it? How?
Sara and Julien spend hours traveling to faraway places in their golden chariot. Where would you travel in your old car?
Remember Sara had only spoken to Julien twice before he helped her to escape school. They have now created a beautiful friendship since coming to the barn. How has Julien practiced the message found in the scripture below? Do you think it was easy for Julien to forgive? In what ways do you see Sara receiving that forgiveness? How does their relationship develop further in light of that forgiveness?
20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” 21 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Should I forgive as many as seven times?”22 Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times.”
Spending so many hours alone in the barn is hard for Sara. The night is especially hard with fears and thoughts coming to life. What thoughts spiral for you in the middle of the night?
What special memories do you have of your parents? When you share those memories, how does it keep them alive? With whom do you share those special memories?
When Julien tells Sara that he believes she will see her father again someday, he explains his feeling by offering that “there are some things we know in our hearts.” Have you ever felt certain of something, even when you couldn’t prove it?
In describing her relationship with Julien, Sara states, “The best friendships are the ones in which words are not needed.” Do you agree with that sentiment? How do you and your closest friends find ways to support each other without having to talk?
When friendship is so strong, what are you willing to risk? Julien wanted to surprise Sara with such a special gift as her journal. Are there special gifts that you would risk something for to give it to your friend?
Pay attention to Sara and Julien. How does each react to their circumstances? How does their time together make life in the barn bearable for her? What is it about Julien that Sara clings to so desperately? How does that change over time?
Who was your Vincent? Who was the person that bullied and picked on you and others at school? How did that change you as a person? How does thinking one is superior than others affect relationship? Look at the eyes of Vincent, Julien and Sara. Only one pair of eyes match what the Nazi regime was looking for. How does bigotry and hatred affect the way people are seen and treated?
How do anger, fear and embarrassment play into Julien’s response to Sara coming out of the loft?
After Julien is attacked by Vincent, Vivienne, Julien’s mother, tells the pastor and administrator of the school, “Evil will only be stopped when good people decide to put an end to it. It is our fight, not God’s.” What is Vivienne reminding us to do?
This cartoon illustrates Vivienne’s message. How is God working through people today to save them? How is God using you to help? Are you answering his call or leaving it for others to answer?
Look in a mirror. How does self-examination help us to see what other people see? Dialogue with a friend when there is strife helps everyone gain better understanding. It’s hard work!!! Is there anyone you need to have hard conversation with to rebuild relationship? Are you able to do that now or do you still have work to do?
It took some time, and more forgiveness(70 x 7), but Julien and Sara worked on their relationship. One of their favorite games was belote. Here’s how you play:
Belote : Learn how to play ! Their relationship was repaired after having those hard conversations while playing this game.
Pray for people who need to be forgiven. Pray for people who need to forgive. Pray for people who don’t realize their hatred and how it is paralyzing. Pray for relationships.