G O D I N A G O D F O R S A K E N L A N D 15 enthusiasm. Each day I felt weaker, the ache in my chest grew worse, and I despised the drudgery of labor. “It is good work, given by God,” my mother reminded me. Each Sunday we called upon God, “our Father—Vater unser.” Yet He seemed far away. He seemed obliterated by the rebel- lion around me and the sameness of each day. God’s voice only echoed in the sullen wilderness of Germany. Deutschland ob- sessed with tradition that seemed to have no focus, no end. Only the bells of the churches seemed to call to me, to uplift me with their cheery, high-pitched voices. The vision of some of the local Turnvereins, like Adolf, was focused on freedom and change. I believed we needed to do bet- ter but could see no way it could happen here. Adolf believed there were places where common people could be truly free. He spoke to me of America. “What do you think of America?” I asked my father one day as he took one of his short breaks between rugs. “It is far and it is wild; Germans would be lost in the vastness. There is little there for us.” “Adolf says people there can get land, and can advance as workers and as leaders.” “Adolf thinks only of revolution. We have more than enough of that already.” “But to leave this realm of unrest might be for the better.” “God would have us be content with our lot in life; serve Him as we do our appointed duties.” “I don’t know what God would have me do; I don’t know if He has a place for me.” “All is predestinated, all is set for us.” “But we must live our lives, follow our own visions.” My fa- ther only shook his head and set about his next task for the day. Each day my back ached, my constitution seemed to go down- hill, and my heart longed for something new, something to stir my soul.