Skip to main content

Bonhoeffer's Wisdom

I'm reading a fantastic biography of an amazing and inspiring man, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy).

A German pastor, theologian and author, Bonhoeffer was one of those brave people during World War II who worked from the inside to dismantle the Third Reich. He was a man of extraordinary faith and courage.

Bonhoeffer was ultimately arrested, imprisoned in a concentration camp, and executed at the age of 39.

Unsurprisingly, many of the quotes associated with him have to do with his views on faith; others speak to the "evil deeds" (Nazism) with which he was all too familiar. I just ran across one that was a little bit different and which I'd not read previously; in it, Bonhoeffer spoke eloquently about loss and grief.

Having just lost my father, this really hit home:

"There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain."

In loving memory of my dad, Walter G. Metschke.

Join the Christian Gift Community

Be the first to know about the latest news, new products, and exclusive specials by subscribing to our free newsletter.

Our privacy policy includes information on how we keep your data secure.