All that great writing time that I was planning to spend on various projects this weekend? Well…it was a holiday weekend, so I have an excuse, right?
This year’s Memorial Day was not nearly as eventful as last year’s, and mostly consisted of furniture shopping and good conversation. I’ve always thought it interesting how the same occasions find us in such different places in life from one year to the next.
In any case, I was sitting in a green room backstage on Sunday having a conversation with a professor friend about Bonhoeffer. I’m always up for a good Bonhoeffer discussion, as he stands out as one of the two most influential theologians in my life. To date, the definitive biography on Bonhoeffer is Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography by his close friend, Eberhard Bethge. My friend and I talked for a while about Bonhoeffer’s pacifism and how it he laid it down to be a part of the resistance plot to assassinate Hitler during World War II…an action for which he was ultimately imprisoned and martyred. We talked a bit about the concept of a “just war,” something that has been on my mind here and there lately in light of recent world events.
Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States set aside to memorialize those who have died during service in the armed forces. Last year, I was more focused on memorials and history. This year, I fell a bit into the apathy that makes this holiday merely the beginning of summer. Of course, that apathy becomes easy to fall into, given the media saturation of worldwide violence that pervades the news outlets. There comes a point of de-sensitization.
Yesterday’s conversation was perhaps the most real observance of Memorial Day that I had this year. I think that’s because I’m tired of perpetual warfare. I’m not naive enough to think that it will end any time soon, because humanity seems to just have too much fun hurting itself. I just recognize that the extent of my memorializing this year was a brief pause to wish that the war would stop, that we could breathe, that we could try just a bit harder to find peaceful solutions to our problems.
And, as Bonhoeffer ultimately concluded, I end in a recognition that there will be those on the international stage that will make that impossible in some cases. And, for that tragic reason, there will be more people to remember when Memorial Day arrives next year, wherever we all may be then.
I won’t be any more fond of that unfortunate truth then than I am now. War, regardless of how just it may or may not be, is a horrific state of affairs.