They stressed how trains in Europe leave right on time. This morning we realized just how true that really is. We woke up early in order to eat breakfast and drive from Büsingen to Schaffhausen in order to catch the 6:47 train to Zurich. We were cutting it really close on time, so as soon as we got there, we booked it. I made it, and so did a couple other people from my group, onto the train. However, we have group Euro passes, so what would you know, all of the people with the actual tickets did not make it on the train with us. Luckily, and praise the Lord, no one came to check our tickets. It was a little bit more of a rushed and stressful morning than I thought I would have.

I have napped a little and we all met up and are on the train to Frankfurt together. I like traveling, but I freak out a little too easily. It is fun watching people in a train station. We are all traveling somewhere. Some are rushing, some aren’t. In a way, we are all in transition—trying to get from one place to another. Part of me thinks that we are all thinking that where we are going is better than where we are right then. Maybe there are people who are sad to be leaving, and there are tear-filled goodbyes happening all around me. Some are probably mindlessly moving from place to place. I hope to think that I travel with some level of excitement, but I know I don’t always. In fact, while driving home to North Dakota, I get bored and downright grumpy. 

I want to be able to see life as if it were a juicy pear, just waiting for me to take a huge bite out of it. After all, life is an adventure. There is exciting new sights to be seen, new experience to take hold of and run with. 

Germany is a lot greener than parts of the Midwest, it is a very beautiful country. Trains are kind of fun. Train bathrooms: not as fun. And if I never have to be in a sleeper car in a train ever again in my whole life, I will be very happy. (I was unable to fully refresh myself and spent the entire next day with frizzy hair and no mascara on my bottom lashes. So everyone in Vienna probably thinks I always look that terrible, but I promise I do not.) 

We are heading toward Amsterdam, we will be going to Anne Frank’s house tonight. The trip has been a mash of new, fun experiences, but also intentionally walking and trying to experience the pain and hurt the people who walked there before us might have felt.

During one of our class sessions, we had to stand on an imaginary spectrum of forgiveness of how we would respond to a SS solider who asked for forgiveness for the terrible things he did in the war. I mean, I don’t know exactly how I would respond, having not been forced to endure the terrible conditions of a concentration camp myself. I know I wouldn’t be able to offer forgiveness from the corporate Jewish community. But I would offer forgiveness, that it may be a means of grace for that soldier in the moment. Perhaps I give forgiveness out too freely, but I have been forgiven, and I believe strongly that I am called to freely give. I believe that life within the Kingdom of God is a life that is constantly pursues reconciliation. Forgiveness isn’t simple, and it is for sure not something easy. Yet, I believe Jesus showed us the ultimate example of forgiveness and we are to forgive without holding back. I believe that everything we choose unforgiveness, we begin to harbor bitterness in our hearts. And we aren’t to live in bitterness.

I think to think train rides make me introspective, but let’s face it: these are just simple words.


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