Archive | May 2019

the holocaust and abortion

This is a sensitive post. Continue at your own choice. I will not be showing any photos, just text.

I’m kind of uncomfortable writing this, because my thoughts are uncomfortable to myself.

I always thought that comparisons to abortion and the holocaust were a little … cheesy? going overboard?

Then Wednesday, we spent two hours in the National Holocaust Memorial Museum.

[Anne starts to cry.]

I’m not sure how best to explain this.

You take a huge elevator to the fourth floor, and chronologically move down the floors. The fourth floor starts with how Hitler could even come to power and the intense propaganda he used to target the Jews (and a few other groups). How he dehumanized and lied about them. And how he made them out to be the enemy.

How he slowly made laws that pushed them out of society. Marking their stores/businesses for boycott, taking away their businesses, moving them to ghettos, creating killing squads… It was very elaborate. And because of the poverty, struggles, and etc. going on in Germany after WWI and the Great Depression, people …. mostly did nothing and believed a lot of what he said, esp early on.

You move down, and you come to a floor with concentration camp remains, models, etc. In a discretely-placed, enclosed box, you can lean over and watch video showing the inhumane experiments performed on them.

There are black and white photos of the mass graves, piles of bodies.

Down more. The allies were actually shocked to find these camps. NO ONE KNEW. or Very Few Knew. I guess from our perspective now, I’d just assumed we knew the atrocities going on and we were fighting this war in order to rescue these people and stop the madness. But no, we didn’t know.

The final floor, you can watch the Nuremberg Trials for war crimes. That was …. hard, watching grown men maintain composure while … describing things.

You also see statements about how most Germans did nothing.

Some bystanders sought to exploit the situation [for] personal gain, but most merely stood by, neither collaborating nor coming to the aid of the victims. Passivity amounted to acquiescence, and the planners and executors of the “Final Solution” counted on bystanders not intervening in the process of genocide.

You saw small displays of small, hero groups who all mostly died doing things trying to thwart the evil. I was touched by this poem by Hannah Senesh (1921-1944– 23 years!) from Yugoslavia.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

So, uncomfortable pause:

I wasn’t expecting to see all the parallels, but after so many years of legalized abortion, they are screaming at me.

The propaganda of freedom and empowerment and salvation. Making an enemy of and destroying a people who are innocent. The pictures of dead body piles– only ours are in color. The experiments. The nastiness of selling and abusing these moms and babies under lying pretenses. How we are mostly oblivious and shrug ourselves to pass by. It’s legal. It’s regulated, right? It’s not me actually doing it. Sheesh, I’m not the one closing the doors of the gas chamber. Not even close.

The war trials … Listening to Abby Johnson…

Survivor stories…..

Anyway. My discomfort is also the fact that I’m …. well, maybe I’m not just a bystander, but I’m not in a small, hero group either. I mean, we hero-ize them now. But back then, they were not heroes. They were the crazies, a little too extreme for our comfort, and why make all that fuss?

I’m not even advocating for small hero groups. But I do advocate for a return to love and humanity from this monster. I don’t know how to advocate for this. But I will make myself uncomfortable and write this blog post.

Midlife changes

As I was chatting with another midlife’d friend recently, I had two insights:

  1. My search for something more to do in midlife is a different search from when I was younger. Before, I was more searching for who I am/will be. In midlife, I’m more searching for continued usefulness and maintaining contact.
  2. I no longer have the intensity of youth. Maybe I miss it, but I’m just too tired and spread out to have intensity or passion about things like I used to.
  3. I feel a bit of a spiritual malaise, too, and a feeling of coasting along— so many years of prioritizing the lives and education of my kids perhaps has this effect. Or years of repetition…. ? I would like to get out of this.

These are not bad things, they just are observations of this time in life.

Our American history-civics trip: Washington, DC

On Sundays, the Washington National Cathedral is free to visit. Even parking in their garage is free! So I wanted us to go around 12:45, when services are over. Then Vitaliy said, Why don’t we just go to a service? So I looked up the times, and we decided to go to the 11:15 service.

I’m embarrassed to say that I never knew America had such gorgeous places. I thought they were all in Europe!

The WNC is beyond gorgeous. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the service, so these are afterwards

The service was very full of Scripture readings, prayer, responsive things, The Nicene Creed. In the sermon, which was really well-written and well-executed, the enemy of your soul was your own sense of shame. So that’s what you needed to be saved from, not your sin.

The service was extremely inviting, well-organized, welcoming of visitors and first-time guests. We all had booklets given to us that told us very clearly when to stand, sit, speak responsively, recite aloud, etc.

I was especially struck by being in the capitol city of my country, and hearing preached that we need to be forgiving and peacemaking…. Not sure how many countries have those ideals.

That experience on Sunday, then our Monday were my favorite two days of the trip.

Monday we walked around the gorgeous Library of Congress. Vitaliy was inspired by the replica of Thomas Jefferson’s library.

Then we went on a tour of the Capitol building

The Botanic Garden was wonderful, too

In the evening, we walked around the monuments, war memorials, reflection pool:

Glorious days.

Our American History-Civics trip, part 1

As many of you know, Vitaliy’s in the process of becoming a citizen. And our girls actually don’t know all that much about America, though they are citizens. And I have two friends currently around DC, so all this came together to create a desire in me to go on a trip.

I think it was God’s idea somehow, because He providentially arranged it all so beautifully and logically in ways I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to plan. I want to share what we did, and the thoughts I’ve had as an adult American, mostly expat person.

We drove up to Va Beach all day Wed. We took only our two older daughters, who are 12 and 13. This was nice, because it was age-appropriate for them and the activities all involved lots of history, walking, standing, sitting, listening, learning.

We weren’t sure where we’d be sleeping around Va Beach, and I wanted to visit Jamestown, at least. As we drove to the drop-off house for all the Togo mission supplies we were delivering to Va Beach, I noted that we passed First Landing State Park, and in talking to the man who lived there, he mentioned we could camp there. That’s what ended up working out.

It was the historical (true or not?) marker site of the first landing, and it had a great beach. So every morning and night, the girls and usually Vitaliy would go catch crabs on the beach (Skyla read that they are called Ghost Crabs), and they’d boil and eat them. They were delicious, so they told me 🙂

Thursday: Drive up, find campground.
Cost of camping: $40/night for three nights = $120.

Friday: We went to the Jamestown Settlement Museum. ($60 total entrance fee for 3 adults, 1 child) This is not the actual site of Jamestown (that’s a mile up the road from them), but it’s the site of a neat living-history museum where “actors” dress up, and we can ask them all sorts of questions and they’ll explain their way of life, current events, etc. There’s an Powhatan Indian camp, the fort, and the ships to see. All have actors working in them. We spent about 6 hours here, and had our picnic lunch. We listened to/watched documentaries of Jamestown, and the girls have read a lot of books about this time period, too. So this was neat.

I learned from the kitchen actor what is means to “bank a fire.” I’d always wondered what that meant, and he explained that it’s putting ashes over the live embers so the embers will keep for the night, hopefully, and you can start them up in the morning.

After that, while we were in the area, we were tired, but we drove to Colonial Williamsburg. We didn’t pay the entrance fee (that is like $40/person)– that will get you into all the buildings– but canyone can just walk the streets, see the people dressed up, see the architecture and way of life. After all the Jamestown information exploding our heads, we were too tired to absorb much more info, so it was nice to just walk around.

Then, while we were close, we drove to and walked around the Yorktown section, too. We got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Then we went back to the campground and the girls hunted crabs …

So this is what I learned, for trip planning: these four places are the logical-to-visit sites in this chronological order: First Landing State Park (but if you’re not camping, you could probably just skip this), Jamestown (early settlement of Va Company), Colonial Williamsburg (colonial time), Yorktown (site of Cornwallis’s surrender to Washington at the end of the Revolutionary War).

Saturday, we visited friends and spent time on the beach again.

Part 2 is Washington, DC