Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Walls Fall Down

On a Serious Note.
I have really struggled with this today, with the Empire State building being illuminated for communism in China. I've thought about how life moves on and history becomes a story in a book, watered down with time. The pain endured is a scar that people no longer notice, the kind you get used to seeing and so it becomes invisible, painful only to the person bearing the scar. Younger people don't understand. Those who are older become a little forgetful. What we once saw as bad somehow gets romanticized, especially in the minds of the very young or uninformed. They hear a song that makes it sound like a perfect world; everyone sharing, no one earning, everyone happy.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. We were in Germany when it happened and we got to take part in history. An East German family ended up in Frankfurt. They had won a prize, airfare to West Germany. No accomodations, just airfare. Somehow they found members of our church and they found us. And we learned their story first hand. The story of a husband, a wife and three children.

They lived lives so different from ours that reading about it in a text book might not do it justice.

This is their reality:

The husband had once been given a special visa to visit a dying relative in America. Other than that, they had never been allowed to leave East Germany. (Imagine no countries? no borders?)

The wife didn't have a coat. There were no coats available for her in the East German stores. It gets cold in Germany. (imagine living for today)

They didn't have a bathtub. Theirs had a crack and wouldn't hold water. A new one couldn't be bought, not by a normal family with a normal income.

They had never seen a grocery store like ours, with full shelves and choices.

They had never seen an ice cream store with more than two flavors.
(imagine having no possessions...)

They had prayed in secret, knowing soldiers were on the streets with orders to kill them for their act.
They had PRAYED for that wall to come down and for communism to end. (Imagine no religion)

It had been anything but idealistic for their family and for the millions of others who lived behind that wall. They didn't have a world where everyone shared and no one went without. They had a world in which a few had everything and the rest did their best with what they could scrape together.

The one thing this family did have: they had faith. The government couldn't take God from their lives.

Another memory of Germany that I cherish takes us farther back in history.
My husband was in the Army and one night we went to dinner at a restaurant in the town where we lived. While we were there a family joined us. An older man, his wife, their grown son. The father was quite a bit older and as we talked, tears came to his eyes and he shared a story, the story of being a young man held in a concentration camp. He had been that young man. And American soldiers had freed him, had given him back his life. He wanted my husband to know that he loved America. He loved what our Army had done for him. He was alive. He was free. He was a part of history that should never be forgotten. He wasn't merely words in a history book, a story on PBS, he was a human being who had been held captive while millions were killed.

Imagine if you will...

I'm sorry to get political. I really told myself to stay away from this subject, but I didn't listen to me. There are people who need these stories, these pieces of history.
Never forget.

Take a journey through history; watch THE HIDING PLACE or CHINA CRY.


Jessica said...

I don't want people to forget. I'm somewhat young but I try to remember what's so wonderful about being American. I wish people my age and younger understood the bad things that can happen when you have no choices, when someone else (usually government) controls your entire lifestyle.
Thanks for sharing that story. :-)

brenda minton said...

Jessica, thank you for reading. :-)
And it is an important thing to remember, the price of freedom and what it means to us.