Over the past few weeks, I have been mulling over the significance of history, war, and the ravages of time. Quite the happy thoughts I know.
I suppose this stream of consciousness was initiated by my review of some photos from my mother’s family church in Zeyer, Westpreussen, in what is today Poland. Then today an Internet friend sent an article from today’s Elblag, Poland (what used to be Elbing, West Prussia, Germany) regarding their German past.
Here are the photos and articles that prompt my thoughts.
The first set are recent photos of the Zeyer Evangelische Kirche- Zeyer Lutheran Church. I guess more precisely these are photos of what is left of the church and graveyard where more than 200 years of my forebears were baptized, married and buried. I have included a photo of what the Church, built and established in 1774, looked like in the early 1900s for comparison purposes. There are also photos of the 2010 re-consecration of the ‘old’ graveyard; along with the placement of a ‘new’ memorial stone.
These next links will take you to some images and postings on German graves recently unearthed in Elblag/Elbing.
All of this brought to my mind the importance of understanding. Understanding history, perspective, motivation and the passage of time. Each of these factors have a significant impact on who we are, who we were, and how we perceive our surroundings. Nothing is static. Societal artifices and institutions which seem permanent are not; they are transient. Place, home, family, and even our burial are dynamic and evolving.
I guess the bottom line is we never really are; but rather, we are always becoming. As living sentient beings we can chose what, we can even chose who, we allow ourselves to become. And I suppose, we are best when we remember that life is a journey from our collective past into our shared future.