Saturday, March 14, 2015

Anne Frank died 70 years ago this month.

Those words above were on a headline on an Internet article I came across just now... It is of course, is a remembrance of Anne Frank and by extension, her times.

Since Anne Frank is a continuing inspiration in my life (going 15 years this year), I'd like to share some of my own thoughts on the matter of her remembrance...

Winston Churchill refused to begin the liberation of Europe through the most direct route. If he did, then we would be remembering Normandy not in 1944 but much earlier. He believed that victory in the war against Hitler and Nazi Germany would be won or lost on the shores of Normandy. (And it was, in 1944, won that is. Upon those beaches and from the ice to the far East, in Russia.)

The PM of Britain at the time was being careful. As he should. Upon that undertaking (the Allied re-taking of Europe) a lot of the things we enjoy today in the "free world" depended.

This is why the Allied fight-back was first fought from the underbelly of the so-called Third Reich right on through North Africa and backwards up the boot of Italy.

The "free world" of Churchill's time and the "free world" of our time in my mind hold on to only two things in common - (1) that it was, is, and shall remain (while time is time) imperfect and therefore, retain a peace that is imperfect and (2) that the sufficiency of this imperfect peace is at every age and in every generation at risk of losing its good and human worth through an evil sufficient for each our times.

Every generation gets a shot at being great... but the greatest ones ally themselves to each other.

We can wax a tad bitter about our remembrances of things past but what we can never be is in denial of the present. We being each of "us" as the nations.

I thought about Churchill's decision a lot in an earlier time thinking that if things had been different, then Anne and most of her generation would have lived. I stubbornly refused to accept what happened. I did contend with the truth of those times, trying to unseal what was already sealed. Undo what was already done. And this attitude made me bitter to the point where my remembrance contributed to nothing in my present life.

I was like that once, a malcontent when it came to the memory of past things that were not up to par with my own personal set of ideals (much like Hitler it was, in retrospect). T'was vanity. The pride of it.

You see, before Anne or rather, before I had a good read of her diary (Anne and her diary of course, are two different truths), I was an idealist when it came to warfare.

When I was younger, my impression of gun battles might have been influenced a lot by the A-Team, one of my favorite 80's TV shows (which aired here every Tues 7:30pm on channel 7, I think... goodness, I still remember). You know, where Colonel John Hannibal Smith, Face, BA, and Howling Mad Murdoch - when they confront the bad guys in the end... everybody shoots a whole lot of rounds for a bit, and then ta-dah! In the end, the A-Team wins. Justice is served. Nobody dies.

Then I grew up. However, even after the memory of ANZAC in Gallipoli was impressed upon my mind and heart, I still thought: No women. No kids. WWI was terrible but I still clung to that dying belief in myself that wars were clean and noble affairs. Desirable and even good when fought correctly... Boy, was I wrong... (is there ever a correct way of taking another life? The act itself is intrinsically evil and wounds the soul of a person for life.)

Things have changed for me in the 15 years that passed... 

Well, 15 years this June 13 (when her diary first came to my attention at Barnes and Noble in Fremont, CA because she attentioned her entries to a "Kitty"); the day after her birthday, June 12.

I am not trapped by the pages of her diary anymore. They were means to better means.

I do not have to read it over and over with fear in my heart. Fear for what I know will happen that I can not change. For am I not anymore bitter with her memory or that of her times.

I have accepted the inevitability of the past and this liberated my present, opening up my soul to the thought of better tomorrows - visions of a time better written... full of days brighter lived.

My remembrance is now of worth to me because it makes me a better person and a better human citizen. I am no longer hateful despite the past nor am I in denial of the present even in spite of the present because I constantly work to reconcile my soul with the memory of these times.

These days, I hate war. I know what it is. 

Which is why my heart is turned to peace. I understand what it is. 

And because I do, I can not be in denial of the truth in the now. Lest I forget.

I can no longer live in disagreement with the memory of all those times past and remain unreconciled to all those names which in their solemn silence illuminate realities often overlooked in the now of my time.

This is why I also can not be in despair of tomorrow - for anybody or for any nation.

For these days, I am a lover of peace. I am more a romantic when it comes to peace than a strict idealist. And because I am, I also must know how to defend it. And that I must. Like anyone who loves someone... and love someone enough to understand that the beloved should be preserved. Not just the "why". But the "because" and everything that goes along with it.

Anne Frank died 70 years ago this month... 

She passed from this world in Bergen-Belsen. Died just a week or two before the camp was liberated. The exact day she died is unknown (it was the first two weeks of March 1945). But her sister Margot reportedly died a few days before she did. Both sisters are now buried in a mass grave. The location of this grave is unknown. The marker in Bergen-Belsen is only a marker. A reminder that this is a place of passing away. What it ushers in depends on how you view time in the heart.

Because the way I see it, 70 years is just a number.

I truly believe what really matters is that we truly remember. That we remember rightly. Firm in the truth. Because when we do, 70 and one thousand years don't make much of a difference.

Time in the heart is not a distance. It is a quality.

There is a kind of time that descends into oblivion. There is a kind of time that remains. What remains ultimately ascends with what we love (unto the God Who Loves us all).

Time and its quality is revealed to us in those moments in life we want to stay forever. Or that we want to live in and experience through for an eternity.

In the fleeting is discerned through time in the heart, the quality of the everlasting.

Those moments seem fleeting because time on the outside - that we all commonly perceive - that makes place relative to itself - physical time, dominates us. For a reason and only for a season. 

Time should teach us remembrance - at the heart of the Eucharist and in the memory of the Nations, it is the same - that time as it truly matters should not be a quantity (should not be a measure of its count).

The imperishable treasures that the Gospel promises that neither thief nor tyrant may steal should never be of those things measured by their count alone.

Time seems distant only to those with distant hearts.

And so to love... and a right remembrance of the beloved in all things... And so to hope... and a memory of true things washed ashore unto those beaches within the soul with the ebb and flow of time - as truth abiding in the heart (as dew in the morning).

I most certainly remember my Anne. 

It was some years ago when I started calling her my Anne... maybe 5 years ago. I'm grateful for the life she lived. I regret she wasn't able to live that life to the fullest.

Her sufferings while she was here upon our world I would not in any way justify as right. Even with all of the inspiration she gives to me. I would not console myself in this way. For I'd rather she had not suffered at all. Always, that she did not have to suffer. But past is the past and that is the truth.

I know now that the LORD intended to shroud such things with the power of His mystery... so that time to every human heart seems everywhere a veil of shadow and tears. Who am I not to trust in the Wisdom of God? Such is such! I understand only that none may deny the truth without sin.

The past, present and all of forever when seen through the eye of the heart are qualities not measured by the count of their years but by the substance in those years... in this way, time is as it should; a way of living instruction, a path that opens up to God's commands - an account of the heart.

The simple truth is without my Anne, I would be a much darker person... But I am not.

And because I am as I should, I will remember.

And I do not think I shall ever forget.

Never again.