Friday, September 4, 2015

Who Am I?

Daddy brought home the book "The Cost of True Discipleship" by Deitrich Bonhoeffer a couple months ago. I've read a couple of biographies and watched a documentary on Bonhoeffer over the past few years, but haven't read any of his personal writings. The story of this man who gave all, including life, trying to free his fellow Germans from the Nazis, even when the only way he could see to do so hurt him to  the core, is gripping. Given this, I was looking forward to reading his book, but, I'll admit I don't read as often as I would like -and definitely not enough for Tori to not worry about my time choices ;). She's a walking book of random knowledge herself!

But, I finally picked it up last night, and am already enjoying it -one chapter into it. That chapter didn't even start until page 43. Haha :). In the short biography on his life in the front of the book, there was included a poem that Bonhoeffer wrote. This poem is just beautiful, so open and so humble, I just have to share it with you...

"Who am I?"

"Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.
Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!"
                                ~Deitrich Bonhoeffer

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"May the Lord, the God of your fathers... bless you!" Deuteronomy 1:11