Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a professing Christian who kept the Christian faith alive during the Adolf Hitler’s rule in Germany. At St. Peter’s we read part of Life Together in Adult Ed.
He was implicated in the bomb plot against Hitler in 1944. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote “Who Am I” just one month before he was executed.
“Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, Like a squire from his country-house. Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders Freely and friendly and clearly, As though it were mine to command. Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune Equably, smilingly, proudly, Like one accustomed to win.
“Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat, Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the 88voices of birds, Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, Tossing in expectation of great events, Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?
“Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person today and tomorrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling? Or is something within me still like a beaten army, Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!”