Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Bridge

Few people groups beyond my own heritage have stolen my heart as completely as the people of Israel.
As a wide-eyed tourist of 25 I soaked in the dry, dusty terrain, the ancient remains of cities alongside modern metropoli, and pondered the seemingly impenetrable barrier between the Jew and everyone else in the world.

As incongruous as it may seem, another bloodline has crept in to my heart. Its presence demands my attention, dominates my thoughts and makes an equal claim on my affections, and I simply cannot help myself. 

I tell the Jews to move over and make some room. The Germans have arrived.

The dinner party going on in my head is as unlikely as any you may imagine. With a sadness too deep for tears I serve them both; a silent observer of their mistreatment at the hands of evil. Like someone who arrived too late, after a fight between two friends, I awkwardly attempt to bandage both. 

The German woman who lost her son in the trenches is victim as well as the Jewish man who lost his sister in the gas chamber. 

Evil is a devil of an actress. Her costumes, props and entrances are dead on. When first she clutches at us, she comes masked as good. Pride in one's fatherland, keeping up with one's neighbors, following our leaders. Until Act III, we may not even know who the villain is, that it is us. 

There is trouble beneath my benign smile. But- I would sweep it away. For what I admire in both is that mixture of confidence and shrewdness I lack myself.
I will never be Jewish. I will never be German. But I stand for as long as my life lasts a living bridge between the two. It is, after all, humanity that plants enmity and, God helping us, humanity that uproots it.