So my subconscious is working overtime. Yet it all seems to come rolling back to my common themes. I blogged on Memorial Day about the honor due our Veterans (just below). And the link to my earlier blog about good intentions even among misguided knights and kings was intentional. Thinking on my title, "Knights of the Air and Sea" I realized it sounded like "Knights of the Errancy" (not to mention that "knight" easily becomes "night,"but let's not go down that Freudian path).
This is deep inside my idealistic heart and I find it hard to explain. But it does help in the distinction to be made from misguided soldiers of good intent and those who followed orders, whatever the intent, to commit horrific crimes that they would recognize if their hearts were not completely closed.
I have a good friend from work whose extended family simply vanished in the Holocaust, no doubt to cruel and horrendous destruction. There is no way to excuse or justify that. And I think that the intent at the core of the hearts responsible is a clear distinction from the many horrible if unintended injustices that occur in this wickedly confused world. An evil man like Hitler can lead a good people to do wrong. Yet there is always that spark of choice, even if deep within, that can always opt one out if the heart is strong enough. Not all Germans or even Nazis participated in the killings. Yet the German Nation went along and the world at large did not do all it could to prevent or stop the horror. So there is existential, communal guilt. And how do we become clean?
I recently re-watched Schindler's List with careful attention, and a few eye-closing moments, in the company of my 14-year-old son. I think it was important for him to see to start analyzing his own heart. It was sobering in its horror yet ennobling in its hope of one righteous man and eleven hundred saved. And how stirring the words, even from a Russian soldier, "You have been liberated by the Soviet Army!"
My religious belief gives faith and hope and sacred ordinances through atonement to cleanse our troubled hearts. And I understand that other religious traditions may see it differently. And they are still due our utmost respect.
But what I see in Knights of the Errancy is the nobility or knighthood of good intent, no matter how horrible the mistakes. Schindler was such a Knight. We are a confused mixture as individuals, communities, and nations of good and evil. Yet I cannot give up the hope that the intent to do good will help to redeem us from the horrible abyss into which any of us could fall.
My daughter remembers a troubled time when I gave her counsel, apparently inspired, but not of myself or something that I even recalled until she reminded me. I said, "There's always Hope."
And there are always hearts to be opened if we remember that Charity never faileth.