What got my wheels turning is this story relating how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his trip to Germany, received blueprints to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The gesture, made by German journalists, appeared to be not so much a macabre gift as it was a means to provide Israel's top diplomat with a connection to the darkest chapter in his family and his nation's history.
Netanyahu's family was nearly wiped out by the Nazis in World War II.
Particularly interesting was this quote:
"Kai Diekmann, editor of Bild, Germany's top-selling newspaper, said as he handed Netanyahu the plans that there could never be a real normalization of German-Israeli relations after the Holocaust."That may be true enough, though I doubt many in 1945 could have foreseen an Israeli Prime Minister visiting a unified Berlin, for a variety of reasons. History has a way of making fools of fortune tellers.
I also doubt many could know just what was going through Netanyahu's mind as he looked over this decades-old murder map with words like "Gaskammer" on it, a symbol of the unspeakably horrible place where 1.1 million of his people died. The article describes that he is also slated to visit the site where plans for Hitler's "Final Solution" were made.
And while it's true that Netanyahu's meeting with German Chancellor Merkel was probably mostly centered around Iran's nuclear program and the sausage-making that at times is diplomacy, that doesn't preclude the fact there can be inspiration in this episode, if we choose to see it, and it deals with perspective.
The moral courage and emotional fortitude it must take to visit such sites strikes me as compelling and noteworthy. And it kinda makes me not so concerned that the bosses might not like my Web designs.
Perspective is what allows us to decide which "stuff" to "sweat." In a strange paradox, I think we're better off sweating the stuff that allows us to help others - if even in small ways - but not sweating it when they stand in our way/disappoint us/wrong us.
I don't know if Netanyahu's trip and interactions are a sign that he's forgiven what was done to his people, or if this is a cathartic journey, or if this is merely political show. But I do know all of us tend to dwell on minutia at the expense of the bigger picture; we devote our toil and sweat into that which divides us - even seeking it our sometimes - instead of dismissing it as "small stuff" as we should.
Apply this however you will - or not at all. Pehaps the only takeaway for some of us is simply asking, "What makes me sweat?" And then ask yourself, "Is it really worth all that?"
You feel me?