Wednesday, August 17, 2005

History Class

Yesterday I took my thirteen-year-old daughter school shopping and it brought back a flood of memories. The mix of nervousness and excitement of the first day. The curiosity, wondering if Keith or Kevin or Kyle is still as hot as he was at the end of the school year. And the anxiety of the actual classes themselves. Ugh. Especially history. Double Ugh. For me, I'd rather dissect a frog than memorize a list of boring dates and events.

Or that's at least how I use to think. Today, one of the things I write is historical fiction. Go figure! I guess my opinion changed when I started interviewing real people who were once wrapped up in history's events.

I'll never forget my first interview with Charlie and Arthur. It was at a World War II reunion. And as these two guys told me their experiences driving tanks across Europe, they completed each other's sentences. Even after 60 years.

Then there was Tarmo. He'd just immigrated from Finland when he joined up to fight with the United States. He still stands over 6-feet tall and goes swing dancing every Friday night. Yet his chin dropped and tears streamed down his face as he told me about a death march--made up of Jews being herded by Germans--that his tank crew came across. Even after 60 years, he couldn't finish a sentence without crying.

It makes me sad to think that if it wasn't for my 80-year-old friends, I would still consider history boring. It also makes me sad to think that before meeting them I would have let days like yesterday pass without a second thought.

You see, yesterday, while I was running around helping my daughter find jeans, my veteran friends were reminiscing about 60 years ago when Japan surrendered and World War II was over, for good. Thinking about the end of the war makes me realize how much has changed in 60 years. It also helps me to remember that no matter how crazy things seem, or how uncertain the future looks, God's hand is over it all.

Isaiah 46:9-10 says:
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please. (NIV)

Take hope in that fact that God's purposes will stand throughout history, and even in history class. Trust Him. There is no other!

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Wow, I would love to just talk to veterans. I mean, what they have to say is so entirely fantastic and it's so often just overlooked and they're just a social security number. It's extremely sad. I just started school today and have American History this semester. I am so in love with history of any kind, while many kids sleep during these classes because the teachers now just write notes on the bored, I go and do research on my own! (The holocaust being one of my favorite topics to discuss and search)
God bless!
Samantha