My Traveling Shoes

Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality.
I've traveled so many miles in shoes that someone else bought for me, plain, poorly fitted, worn, second hand, hand me downs. Ohh, they hurt my feet and took me places that I didn't need to go, places that I didn't want to go. For many years I put them on. I was told it was my duty, but my heart was heavy and my cares so many.
Done found myself a new pair of travelin' shoes to wear on this leg of my journey. Handmade to fit and suit me just right, supportin' and comfortin' me each step of the way.They are wild and colorful as I chose them to be, they suit my personality. I bought these shoes. I own these shoes. They are mine.
by Jeanne leigh...copyrighted...2007


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As the assistant to the Cataloger of our county library, my favorite part of my job is receiving all our new books and preparing them to go out to the three libraries we serve. This week we received a book called BONHOEFFER: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. I knew of Bonhoeffer years ago and read a few of his books. I was impressed with the story of this interesting man.

As a Christian leader in Germany in 1933 when Hitler began his rule, Bonhoeffer stood against the Nazi Regime from the very beginning. This book is a very thorough biography that tells of his journey and struggles in being a major part of the resistance which led to his imprisonment and later his death in 1945 by hanging in a concentration camp.

Last night I heard the author Eric Metaxas speak about this book on C-Span Book TV. He covers many subjects which have been neglected in the telling of the story of Bonhoeffer and all the German citizens who resisted the Nazi Regime. So many were tortured and murdered if they spoke out or were discovered.

Bonhoeffer was a spiritual leader who sought the direction of God and at the same time sought to be transformed and to understand what his faith actually called him to do in the real world when faced with such evil. Bonhoeffer exemplified how to look deeper at scripture and ask the hard questions. He lived his life bravely and made his choices hoping he was doing the best thing to stand against the evil of his time. 

As I glanced through the book, I read a poem Bonhoeffer wrote called, Who Am I? He wrote it during his confinement at Tegal prison. His honesty, his struggle with the reality of his own weakness against his desire to be transformed and to choose to act and live true to his faith struck a deep chord in me.

Though his reality was much more difficult than most of ours, I think we all to some degree experience a struggle of our wounds, faults, doubts and weaknesses against our love, truth, compassion and choice of action. I certainly was touched by the honesty of this beautiful soul. I’d like to share this poem with you.

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 use 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 who is 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 fiends 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, O God I am Thine!

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I have taken this book home with me. Looking forward to learning more of his story. Peace, Jeanne


garden said...

"Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God I am Thine!"

What a Beautiful, Deep poem from a Very Deep, Beautiful man! Thanks Jeanne for finding this and showing it here. Along with your story of how you came upon this and your short review ~ my interest is really piqued. I would Love to hear the radio interview with the author, Eric Metaxix and will keep my ear out for it.
I would not be surprised it my NPR station features it soon on the program "On Being ~ with Krista Tippett". I'm going to look into it! Thanks for Sharing this!!!
~ deb

Pam said...

Thanks for sharing that with us. It's so hard to imagine what life was like for those in his situation.

jeanne leigh said...

Thank you ladies. Yes, I am very interested in hearing more about his story. There is a lot of information in Metaxas's book that has never been written about before. I am looking forward to hearing these details.

Yes, Bonhoeffer was a very deep man. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and read this post. I appreciate you both!
~ Jeanne