Due to his involvement with the assassination attempt on Aldof Hitler, Deitrich Bonhoeffer was arrested on April 1943 and eventually executed on April 1945, 23 days before the Nazis’ surrender. This guy is the closest thing we have to a Christian version of Batman.

As I read this letter he wrote in prison, I was struck by the inner conflict he went through. It must have been difficult to juggle both courage and fear amidst such a strenuous situation. Although my life events are far, far less grueling then the trials of Bonhoeffer, I resonate with the conflict he describes. It’s worth the read.

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
Equally, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all 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 expectation 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 contemptibly 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, 0 God, I am Thine!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
March 4,1946

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