Friday, November 13, 2009

The Box

Last night, we went to a meeting at a church that was about an hour's drive from here. We rode with a wonderful woman from our new UU church. She was telling us family stories on the ride down. She talked about how her parents fled Poland as the German military was invading. They escaped and eventually wound up in Scotland, where she was born. I was thinking about how remarkable it would have seemed to people back then that 70 years in the future, their daughter would be in a car driving to a church meeting with the granddaughter of a member of the military force that was invading their country—me. It is funny and tragic how we split apart along these arbitrary lines that we create—national boundaries, religious differences, political parties. These are fluid and change over time, so people that were enemies become allies and allies become enemies. Kind of like divorce, I guess. The person you loved enough to think you would want to spend the rest of your life with them can sometimes become the person you hate more than anyone in the world. The sad thing is that when we erase one line, we seem to replace it with another one. The dividing lines are always there, we just redraw them from time to time. I suppose that in some way when we draw these lines, we are setting a boundary for ourselves—creating the box in which we will live. Too bad we can't seem to escape from the box.

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