Today was a slow day and it wasn’t until this evening that I got to the last of my email reminders for blogs I follow. It was for Derrick Knight, a retired lad in England, who delightfully chronicles his adventures in the garden the Head Gardener (Jackie, Mrs Knight) kindly lets him meander through whilst doing a few gardening-ish chores. Derrick is a lover of books, and the New Forest, and the seaside, and his comestibles.
I always liked him as an actor, (Dirk, not Derrick) so I tootled off to read up about him via that wonderful resource portal, Wikipedia.
Turns out that Dirk was among the Allied officers who went into Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April of 1945. Please read what he wrote. It’s important. (just click on the green link)
Did you read it through? Did you look at the photographs? Were you horrified, sickened? Did you think to yourself, that could never happen now, here?
Truth is, humans have been doing this to other humans for thousands of years.
Do you know what the difference is between you and I, and them?
They were, and are, (because humans have never really stopped brutally torturing and murdering each other somewhere on the planet) just like you and I. Assorted limbs, a functioning brain, carrying all sorts of wounds, physical and metaphysical, each with our own little bubbles of concerns that can make a day shine or feel like a milestone around our necks … and yet, some of us commit horrendous acts of brutality, and some of us do not.
Do you know what separates us?
Choice. That’s all.
When you strip away the dogma, political, religious, whatever, all we’re left with is, Choice.
Whether it’s a choice about a moral ambiguity or to become another a butcher of humans, it’s exactly the same choice. A step this way, a step that way. Some choices involve major amounts of suckitude, but they’re still choices.
As I pondered on the choices I’ve made in my life, the good, the bad, the ugly … the really bad … and the beautiful, I heard in my head a phrase from a song by Bette Midler, about ‘hollow, ancient eyes’, I dug out my collection of Bette albums and listened to the song in question … and it seemed to me that it’s a song about how we can find hope in our choices.