Illogical love

It is not a good thing to be passionately in love with someone who does not want to be loved.

It would be an understatement to say that my parents didn't like Germans. Their WWII generation's attitudes were pretty strong. Yet, as a young boy, the very first time I heard the German language (a short-wave radio in a civil defense shack on top of the City Hall) I thought I was hearing the most beautiful sounds possible. The cadence, the tone, the timbre, the voice itself. A transforming moment that has never ended. In retrospect I was not aware of one person; classmate, friend, or broader family, that ever understood this love affair. For them German and "Nazi" were inseparable; ergo to be attracted to anything German was suspect.

My first visit in May of 1977 was the excitement of returning home; my feet touching the soil, breathing that air. Over the next four decades I have made many return trips.

I have had miraculous good fortune in having wonderful conversations with people from every walk of life. For some reason I am the first English speaker who normal Germans can understand. And for some strange reason nearly everyone has opened their heart to me: A wonderful and natural trust. I have always thought that they like me because they sense that I like them.

If there is one sentence that characterizes what I have found in all these conversations it is this, "There is no greater sin in Germany than to like Germans." Once again raising suspicions.

This is what makes my love so illogical -- and difficult. Today, Germans are much more comfortable with being told how bad they are, or being treated with a bit of coolness. And yet there remains deeply in me an illogical love toward someone who does not love themselves, or each other.

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