Sunday, November 9, 2014
“Yes, it was truly twenty-five years ago”. That is what I said to myself last night as I contemplated the fact that the Berlin Wall came open twenty-five years ago. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been so long. It seems like yesterday I was a teenager witnessing something that, at the time, was quite unprecedented. History is full of surprises. And the fall of the Berlin Wall certainly ranks as an astonishing world event.
I had another interesting thought last night. This is the first time through the wheel of the year that I am honoring this significant day in German history as someone who is no longer clinically diagnosable with PTSD. One year ago, on November 9, 2013, I still quite likely met enough criteria (as listed in the DSM V) to be considered diagnosable for the disorder. I find myself journeying to and across all the significant thresholds one may encounter relatively early on in the process of consciously and thoroughly healing from trauma. The upcoming holiday season will be the first one I enjoy without the burden of past trauma thick upon my mind and heart. This is huge! I have made it quite far in my journey.
When the Berlin Wall came open twenty-five years ago a giant wound in European history was again brought into the light of day. Germans separated by a wall for decades were able to meet one another in a way they had not been able to do for quite a while. Some might say this puncture in the Iron Curtain was the most consequential one in the sequence of events that led to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. Indeed, once the question of German reunification ceased to be a purely rhetorical one (by virtue of events such as the opening of the Berlin Wall) it was only a matter of time before other Communist states would collapse as well.
As would be expected the very idea of German reunification stoked some very real fear in the hearts and minds of the citizens of its neighbor states. France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland (among others) suffered mightily during the time of the Nazi occupation in World War II. Could such a nightmare unfold in Europe yet again if Germany was reconstituted as a single nation? It was a legitimate question to ask. Twenty-five years have passed since that eventful November day in Berlin. And thankfully the horrific destruction of World War II has not appeared in a new guise in Europe.
As is true of many individuals of Germanic heritage I feel both pride as well as a very German bit of angst regarding the land and history of my mother’s ancestry. Germany exerts a powerful role not just in European geopolitics but in the world as a whole. I am proud of the innovation, imagination, creativity and intelligence of my fellow German people. I am also proud to be able to read, write and speak the German language. But I also feel a certain sadness that perhaps can never be truly expunged. It is sobering to contemplate the scale of destruction wrought by Germany in World War II. It would be a wondrous thing if a devastating conflict of such immense scale never again erupts anywhere in the world.
Fifty Day Challenge, Day #45
Healthy activities I did today:
§ I honored my ancestry by writing about the fall of the Berlin Wall
§ I refrained from doing too much on a Sunday as a way of maintaining balance in my life