When I finished reading Maus and Night it was impossible to not feel the cruelty that is possible in humanity deep in my gut. While reading In the Garden of Beasts, I only became more disengaged with politics and their inability to create the kind of change that the world desperately needs. I’m a micro-thinker by nature, meaning that I’m a believer and participant in small change on a small nature when it comes to making a difference. I’m thankful for people who have the brains and enthusiasm for policy and law, but am generally overwhelmed when looking at the world’s brokenness at such a vast level. And so, I sit in my classroom and teach my students to be critical thinkers and to hopefully see some magic through reading and writing. I knew that I needed to read something that would reveal hope to me on a micro level–to remember that amidst the ugly there were people who loved and people who fought for what was right. Then I remembered a friend had recommended Eric Metaxas’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to me over a year ago and realized there would never be a better time to read it.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Christian who was a part of the German resistance to Hitler and became involved with multiple assassination attempts, ultimately hanged at a concentration camp two weeks before the end of the war. It’s just over 600 pages and it overtook my reading and thinking life, which partially explains my month long absence from writing about reading on here. I’ve never been more engaged in nonfiction and I have never been so captured by the integrity of a single person. There isn’t a way that I can begin to describe all that I took away from reading it, except to say that I can only hope to strive for justice and love the way that he did. His life is a story of doing what is right, period, and not hiding under the illusion of safety in rules and regulations and inaction.