At least once a year I watch part of “Saving Private Ryan”. Last night I watched the beginning and saw what I assume is a true depiction of the landing at Normandy. I don’t know how any of our men survived that. I can barely watch a fictitious Hollywood portrayal. If I had been there I probably would have just wanted to die quickly and get it over with.
The question in my mind last night was ‘how did the survivors of that go on with life in any normal way?’. Tom Hanks portrayed Captain Miller, a school teacher before entering the war. If he had survived how would he go back to teaching English to a bunch of kids who really didn’t care about learning? How would he go shopping and watch a ball game after seeing what he saw? How would it change his values, goals, ambitions?
How does anyone go back to “normal” after seeing tragedy, brutality, death or suffering? Beyond survivor’s guilt, how does one snuff out the sounds, smells and sights of awfulness?
At the end of the movie, Private Ryan is an older man and questions if he was a good man. What do we base our worth on? How do we base whether we were good or not? How do we continue living knowing that others are dying or suffering?
Acts 20:23-25 (NIV)
23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.