Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The world is wide, and the post-traumatic is universal
When I began to blog about the post-traumatic experience and how it impacted on the Apostle Paul, I had the urge to explore – as well as share - what I knew – and what my wife, Annelie, both had experienced. What I could did not foresee was how it would in some ways broaden my life. I knew intellectually that the post-traumatic was a universal in human experience, and that the world wide web was in effect, world wide, but it was a realization on an intellectual level rather than a sensation of realizing. This week, for instance, the blog had hits from six other countries. I have no way of knowing what stories these represent, but every one must represent a story. Is there a family that…?
This week one of the hits was again from Latvia. We were in the Baltic area a few years ago. On one stop we had a choice of an English speaking tour group in the morning rather than the later German one. The guide was excellent, but there was an outburst. At a certain spot she suddenly exploded about German atrocities during World War II; it was as if something had been triggered, yet she was too young for it to be a flashback. There are so many things of this nature, so many hand-me-downs.
All such memories are not bad, although the provincial thoughts of my American youth may have received double for their shortcomings. Having heard American war stories (until my brain overflowed), I have been hearing a lot of German stories more recently. It has been an interesting way to begin to appreciate how human we all are. Since you may have read I am a native Texan, I would appreciate it if you would cover your mouth while laughing…
As to Latvia, and a triggering. One of our friends is a former German tank officer. His regiment had been fighting around St. Petersburg and now they were in full retreat. His company had become trapped against a lake. It was in the middle of winter and he decided that in the night the ice was solid enough to bear the weight of the tanks, and they began to cross. On the back of the tanks were huddled German refugees. The soldiers had torn out the insulation inside the tanks and put it on the outside to provide as much protection against the cold as they could for them. In the crossing our friend was told a young mother was giving birth. He radioed his colonel and asked permission to baptize the baby. The colonel not only gave permission, he instructed him to issue a birth certificate stating that this baby was a German citizen, born on German territory – which happened to be a tank – and it was done.
Our friend did not say if the baby survived the night, but just perhaps, somewhere in Germany some man is about to retire – with all the full rights and privileges of a German citizen – who was certified as being born on German territory; it just happened that territory was traveling just as fast at the time as circumstances would allow.