“Choose Life!” – Kayla Mueller
By Shlomo Maital
One of the most powerful and terse passages in the Bible is Deuteronomy 30:19: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life”. The message is clear. We DO have a choice. We can see the dark side of everything, or we can see the bright side, the ‘life’ side.
Kayla Jean Mueller was a 26-year-old Jewish aid worker from Arizona, held in ISIS captivity. As a teenager in Prescott Arizona, she was voted “best smile” in her graduating year in high school. She was always drawn toward helping the weak, the downtrodden, according to her parents. She led marches to help Darfur, and was college president of a student-led movement to end mass atrocities. Her story is beautifully told by Dana Harman in today’s English edition of the daily Haaretz.
Mueller had been in Syria, as an aid worker, for one year and a day, when she was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 2013. Earlier, she had travelled the world, volunteered in India and in Israel, and then in the West Bank.
President Obama recently announced that Kayla was dead. ISIS says she was killed in the Jordanian bombing raids. In any event, ISIS is responsible. Her family managed to keep her identity secret, hoping this would help gain her release.
During her 18-month captivity with ISIS, Kayla wrote a note to her parents. Here is part of it:
“I have been shown in darkness, light – and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.”
Kayla may be physically dead. But her message will live forever. Choose life, even when the forces of darkness choose death. Choose light. Choose to see the bright side. Long after the murderous thugs of ISIS are dead and buried, Kayla’s message to the world will live on.