It is about 11 o'clock Friday morning.|
No one has told me to do any special work, so that I am considering a letter to you as my next duty. Writing you a letter is one way I can improve my typing. It will take a little practice before I will be able to express myself through the typewriter as I am able to express myself with a pen. I have had a pleasant morning, and you have been largely responsible for this. I received your letter from August 29th and 30th. A letter from you gives me always new pep; and it also makes me eager to write again.
Now let me see what you would like to know.
About my spiritual expeditions I have not written to Reverend Bernard. I had to work out these problems with other people that were led to me just at the right moment. And I had to work them out in myself. You cannot lean too heavily on the advice of other people. You have to develop a viewpoint of your own. At least that is the way I feel. It was a good thing that you wrote less for a while, because that put me more solidly on my own feet. For a while I really thought that I would float away pretty soon. My way of life might seem very fine to others, but it is still far from perfect in my eyes. I realized that so much in the last couple of weeks because somehow I could not adjust myself to army life and I think life in general. On the outside I tried to be like always, but my insides were really in uproar. My stomach is always a good thermometer for the way I am getting along.
For a while my stomach was really giving me trouble. It seemed as if it was tied in knots. But I am always going forward. I am gaining weight now and also feeling better physically and mentally. Previously I had the silly notion that I had to stay as light as I was and must be very careful what about what to eat and what not to eat. Now that this mental barrier is being removed, I am also gaining weight. Previously I would have a guilty conscience about buying myself a bigger belt, but now I don't anymore. Yesterday I bought myself a bigger belt. My comrades also mentioned that I seem to be gaining a little weight.
To compensate for my office work, I do some physical exercises in my spare time. After I did a little exercise I right away felt a lot better. The day I spent together with Sonni (Peter’s older sister), she showed me how important it is to get out of your little house and world. Enjoying the beautiful outdoors is excellent medicine for heartaches and stomachaches. If you forget your own world for awhile, and take a look at God's world, you will see that you are caught in the small world of your thoughts. If you could have seen me, dear Mother, last Sunday, bicycling with my sister through the country, you would have been very happy. Why would you have been happy? Because you would have seen me laugh and smile again like I have not laughed and smiled in years. I really enjoyed that state of consciousness which came by just enjoying nature instead of doing a lot of philosophizing about it.
I have been doing too much philosophizing lately; and that is why I was losing my balance. I had the feeling for a while that these up and down moods were necessary; but they are really not. If you are feeling happy, that is quite all right. When these depressions would come, I always hoped for them to pass. But now I don't hope for them to pass. Now I fight against them with all the weapons at my command, I was putting on a false show of holiness for quite a while. This might be hard for you to understand, dear Mother, but it is true.
That little ego is very, very clever. We must be careful not to be fooled. I was having it so hard because I was pretending that I was someone when I am really no one. I have discovered my old ambition for recognition in disguise. I was doing, a lot of “good things” because I was afraid of what other people might think about me if I would do otherwise. That is the negative approach. I must be good because it gives me pleasure to be good and it gives the other person pleasure also. I was haunted for a long time by the fear of a guilty conscience. I am trying to shake off that fear now and replace it by courage, confidence, and the joy to live. I want to get up every morning with a bang. I want to look forward with expectancy to what good things the new day has in store, for me. I will not be worried that I cannot finish my allotted task today, because there will always be a tomorrow. God is a patient God.
Now I will put aside this letter to you for a while and do some work for the office. There will be a tomorrow as long as we still need to learn something else. As far as I know at the moment, there is nothing wrong if I enjoy my piece of chocolate, you, your cup of coffee, and tuna fish sandwich; and Papa his malted milk. I am seriously thinking of eating fish again. It will not make a bad person out of me. I have often hesitated about eating fish or meat just because I had told people that I was a vegetarian. Don’t you think that is foolish? I am afraid of the opinions of people about me.
You know, it is a funny thing. When I was with Sonni, I had a chance to read some of the letters I wrote. They sounded very strange to me. What I had written sounded so lofty and really not like Peter. I even did not care very much to read them again. I have an explanation; but maybe you have one too. I would be interested to hear from you about this when you have time.
I am so glad that Papa is on his way. It is going to do him a lot of good to get into a different climate - spiritually and physically speaking. I think that when we get away from our present position for a while, we can take a better survey of the situation. It seems to me that, the whole Laue family has to be just a little careful when it starts to explore the realm of the spirit. About Hellmut, I do not have any worries in this respect. And also as long as I know you, you have always had good judgment. When I am listening to you, I can always be sure that I am listening to good advice. I know that I am governed too much by my emotions and feelings. I have to learn to use my head which God also gave us for a purpose.
I have noticed lately that I have lost very much of my mental concentration during the last few months. This office work is really a good medicine for me. It forces me to keep my mind on what I am doing. At first I made very many mistakes and worked as slow as a snail crawls. My mind was more in the spirit than on the work. But it is getting better and I am going forward.
I will give you two addresses of private families. One, the first one, is the address of a little grocery store just outside the gate of the hospital. The owners are very nice. The lady has shown me the light often when I was sad and in darkness. I go there a few times each week, usually just to say hello. But I also often wind up buying some cookies or candy. The address is: Herr Karl Werner, Nuremberg, Rothenberg Str. 315. And the other address is: that of Mrs. Schnuphase, Tilly Str.23.
If Nellie would come through Nuremberg, I would be very happy to see her and spend some time with her. Thank you for the Torch magazine. I am going to take a look at it. Maybe I will find something interesting in it. Mr. Zeidler's letter I will send back to you, but only in a little while. I took it along to Sonja. I wanted her to read it. She is really doing quite well with her English. Please don't buy any books for me, Mother, unless I should ask you for something special. If you have read the Reader's Digest book and enjoyed it, you can keep me in mind as a recipient for the book. I have not been doing much reading lately, because I had been doing too much thinking. But I will get into the trend of reading again. I bet that pajama is ironed with a lot of love. It is going to be very nice to wear when it is cold.
My lady friend does not have any wishes. I have asked her several times; but she only wants to g1ve. She does not want to accept anything from me. It is wonderful how she was able to help me. She has helped me through her great spiritual wisdom which is simply - unselfish love. If you have true love, you will need nothing else. To have true love is to have the greatest wisdom. I have not written Kleins (neighbors Peter stayed with during World War II) that I am in Germany, nor Mrs. BIoss. Ruth I wrote, but I did not tell her where I was. I do not know when I am going to see Dick. It will be connected with a bit of trouble. I am going to try to see our German relatives and friends first. But maybe Dick can visit Sonja since he is stationed near Stuttgart.
To have visited Sonja was a great present for me. My dear sister has it quite hard. And she has had it hard for quite a few years already. She needs a lot of love and understanding. We must not talk from our level to her, but we must try to understand her in her ways. If you can sit next to her and talk to her you will understand her better. Sonni and I have undergone a very similar education of life. Sonni needs understanding from a friend and true love. She needs someone she can tell her troubles to like I can tell mine to you. It is quite hard if one has to solve all his problems alone.
Life is a great challenge. One thing we must never do and that is give up and say, “I can go no further.” I have noticed that as soon as we have given up, we have lost. If we do not give up, we cannot lose. Do you remember the story of the three frogs swimming in a pail of milk? Whenever we have set ourselves a task we should finish it. The job in itself is not so important, but the confidence we gain in seeing the job done is what counts. That way we will gain the confidence that we can do any job that comes our way. Finally we will be confident that we can know and find God. Our confidence must be developed to a high degree, to the highest degree before we can take that final step. That is why I want to make a real success of my time in the army. If I can make a real success of this, I can tackle a little bit harder job again. Hellmut has the right spirit. When he starts something, he finishes it. And he tries to make a perfect job every time. That is the way to do it. Dear Mother, you are not getting tired in business because you are getting older. I have never seen you so young looking as on those pictures you have sent me. You are getting tired maybe because you are seeing that others are getting more money for less work. Either you must make a change in your position or your mental position. You should see those German workers in the hospital. They work about three times as hard as most of the GI's, and they get about half the pay of the lowest paid GI If they would want to compare, they would make themselves very unhappy. It takes great souls to be humble like those workers. And they are still grateful that they may work in the hospital. When you, get the right attitude again all and even more of your vitality will return. I can see that in my own case. I was feeling for a while almost like a dead duck despite good food and light work. Now that I try to get up with a bang in the morning and enjoy the day and laugh, I am also alive again. The mind is really an unexplainable, yet a powerful part of us.
I talked to a friend on the train back from Stuttgart. He had been for several years in a Russian prison camp. He never gave up the hope that he would be able to return home one day. That strong hope and confidence and prayer to God kept the man alive. He told me that those that gave up hope died in a very short time.
Let me say good-bye now, dear Mother, and dear Hellmut. Papa will probably be on the boat already when this letter reaches you. I'll be thinking of you. Let's always carry our banner high. It's about seven-thirty. I am going to see my lady friend for a moment after I have closed this letter.
Always, Private Peter Dieter Laue
Mr. Zeidler is a business man, I think. What business he is in I do not know.
September 11, 1953
My dear Mother and my dear Brother,
I can either write you a letter in the big office or in the little office. Since I only happen to have the key for the little office in my pocket, I am going to use the little office. The little office I can call my office pretty soon. The boy whose work I will be taking over is going back to the States in November. I do most of his work now already. The boy usually spends his time now going on errands for the captain. I think I will be going on errands after a while also. I am going to get myself a GI driver’s license, and then I am allowed to drive a jeep or truck or whatever is called for. Unofficially I drove a jeep and ambulance already, but it will be better if I do it officially.
I am putting my heart and interest more and more into my work and my life in the army and my life in Nuremberg. I cannot live in the spirit now or with you in the pretty little house with the pretty garden. I tried to do that for a while and I almost floated away. I am no angel yet and I have no wings. I must still walk on the earth like my comrades. You cannot grow wings overnight. But that is what I tried to do.
Everything that I enjoyed I tried to do without. But you know what happened after a while? The joy to live and the joy to get up in the morning became very small. But now I can write you that it is becoming very different. I look forward to my meals; I love to do the physical exercises in the morning and I am sorry that they only last for a half an hour. I am finding joy in my work. I love to read a good book again. At the moment I am reading “Kinfolk” by Pearl Buck. Previously when I read a few lines I fell asleep when reading. Now that the interest is returning, life is returning also. I have also seen two German movies. When I went the first time to the movies my world was still more real to me than the story on the screen. During the second movie I forgot myself and laughed again. I have a new approach now to life. The way I want make others happy is my smiling being happy myself.
A sermon given with a serious and sad face is no sermon. I have noticed that a happy disposition is contagious. Several boys have helped me consciously by their happy nature. And when I do some work, I want to put my whole heart into it and try to do a good job. The first weeks I was here I had my mind always chasing rainbows while I was working.
I am going to tell you something which I think will make the headlines. Last Sunday I was invited at a friend’s house. The boy’s mother prepared a nice meal for us. There was a nice piece of meat on my plate and I ate the meat without any bad feelings. I do not have the feeling any more that I am a better person because I eat no meat. I saw a chicken eat an earthworm the other day. Then I thought we eat eggs and yet call ourselves vegetarians. Where is the dividing line I thought? As long as we do not carry any hateful feelings in our heart against anyone or any things, we are not doing something wrong. And it is only human to make a mistake. I was afraid to live for a while because I was afraid of doing something wrong. And it is only human to make a mistake. I was afraid to live for a while because I was afraid of doing something wrong. God does not expect us to be perfect overnight. He is patient and He is patience. A friend of mind told me that it took him twenty-eight years to overcome his smoking habit. He did it in the end and that is what counts.
I can hardly believe that my Mother is in front of me when I look at your latest picture. What have you been doing with yourself, dear Mother. My friends say that you look like forty. Some say that you look like a young girl. They cannot believe that you could be my Mother. And everyone also likes your smiling face. Can you tell me where you got it, or is it a secret? It is so nice to see you smiling. I have not seen you smile like that for a long time. And I like Hellmut’s picture too. He looks also very happy; but I really don’t know him otherwise. And he also looks healthy. I approve of those gold adventures now; although one does not find gold one finds health and good cheer. And that is more important than gold.
Sonni bought a bicycle for me in Stuttgart for forty Marks. She is going to send it to me in the next few days. Then I will take little excursions into the country and tap again my strength and endurance. We are a big power plant and we must keep it running physically, mentally, and spiritually. If we don’t keep it running, it is going to get rusty and useless. You know what happens when you do not use a language! You forget the language. Or if you do not type for a long time; then you forget how to type. Since I am doing some physical exercise again, I feel a lot better. When I am physically alive, then I am also mentally more alert and am able to concentrate much better.
Just a little thought in-between. I am just thinking of Papa. Nothing but water is probably around him now. I am very glad that he has taken a vacation. He deserves and he needs it. But how about, dear Mother, would you like to take a vacation like that also once?
Tomorrow I have two visitors from Muenster. The parents of a boy I met in Camp Pickett are coming to Nuremberg. I sent the parents regards from their boy and told them that I was a friend of his. The parents must really love their boy. They are extra making this long trip to be able to know a little bit more about the life in America and army and their boy. They are only staying for the afternoon and evening and then taking the train back home. They are the parents of the boy who took the picture of me in the forest. I just think of it.
Thank you for the nice pictures you have sent me and for your letter. And I also received Papa’s letter; but I think I will thank him in person.
I will close the office now and wish you a good night. And best regards also from Mrs. Schnuphase and the girls here in the office. Mrs. Schnuphase was a little worried yesterday. She asked me if you would mind that she has somewhat taken over temporarily the Mother position? I told her that she would not have to worry at all. I told her that my Mother will be happy to know that I have a home and someone who cares for me here.
Good night and may God bless you and dear Hellmut.
Always, your boy and comrade – Dieter (Peter’s name as it appears on his birth certificate – Bensheim, Germany - 2/16/1933)
September 12, 1953
My dear Mutti and Hellmut,
I am sitting in a small pub with two dear people. These people are the Mom and Pop of one of my comrades I met at Camp Pickett. I told you about the people in my last letter.
We are experiencing some very precious hours. I am feeling healthy and alert. I already feel at home here.
Good-bye and so long,
Your Dieter (the first name on my German birth certificate)
Note: this letter was written entirely in German and has been translated by the author
September 15, 1953
My dear Mother,
Just a quick little card in-between –
I received your dear letters from the sixth and eighth. I could not help it; but they brought tears into my eyes. I am sad and am sad because you are lonely; but especially because you think I have gone off the path and have gone astray.
It hurts me if you believe such a thing. I will believe in God that He will not let anything happen to his child. Mother, when there comes such a time when you do not want to live anymore, you plead to God to help you. Do you not think He is helping you and me wherever we might be and whatever we might do? It is all a part of our schooling.
I have received the Bhagavad-Gita at Clay’s house, but not the silver charm from Miss Brackeler. Please do not send me any books for the time being. Books I can get here and I can even go to school here. Please be of good cheer, dear Mother, and trust in God. If you will trust in God, you will know that He will also not let me go.
I hope and don’t think that the land will be bought now.
Your boy, Peter
September 15, 1953
My dear Mother and my dear Brother,
I will sit down and write you a little more about what has gone on in my life. I need to fill in some of the loopholes. It is a little harder to put my thoughts on paper with a typewriter than by longhand, but I will try my best. I can only tell you a little in a letter about what has gone through my mind during the last few weeks. What I have experienced will fill many pages maybe one day.
Through my thirst for truth and my eating habits I had become very sensitive to good and pure things, but also to dark and evil forces. I really don’t like to say evil forces. I would rather say, to the two poles of life. How much I was imagining and how much was real, I could not tell apart anymore during the last few weeks. Forces, for example, which can make a drunkard out of a person, were raging in me. Oh, it is so hard to put these experiences on paper. These forces grew so strong that I was becoming afraid of them. But still I wanted to experience them in myself in order to know what goes on in other people. I had also told myself that I was as bad as the worst criminal, because my eyes were desiring a pear on someone else’s tree. I could not walk with pleasure through the fields anymore, because my eyes constantly desired the fruit I saw on different trees. My stomach could be full, but still, I would so desire what did not belong to me that eyes began to hurt whenever I opened them to look at something.
I was imagining that people were thinking something bad about me. My whole being was seized by great depression which I could not shake off. I would have to wait till it would pass in some mysterious way. The depression came more and more frequently. Only seldom did I experience spiritual renewal. I was at the mercy of these alternating forces. My stomach felt as if it were tied in knots. Often I craved for some chocolate, but I always said no. Some people told me that I should stop worrying, others told me to go to the movies. I had told no one what was going on inside of me. Each day this voice inside of me became more real and persistent; and I could not ignore it. If it had told me to run away from the army, I would have done it. I became physically very exhausted. It was hard for me to walk up the steps. I felt like lying down for a long time. I thought I needed a rest. There was no joy for me in living. Almost all my concentration and memory had disappeared. I made many mistakes in the easiest work and was very slow. I had a difficult time keeping myself awake. I had lost interest in life. It had become too difficult, and I did not see how I could manage much longer. I did not feel like doing anything anymore. That voice inside had exhausted me.
Then one day I felt that if I continued to listen to the voice, I would not live much longer or would become insane. Therefore I began to do just the opposite of the things the voice told me to do. I made myself read a book, although I fell asleep almost every few lines. I tried to become interested in the story on the screen. I went to the carnival. I made myself run up the stairs even though I was tired. I made myself smile even tough I did not feel like smiling at all. I bought myself chocolate. I had a craving for something sweet, so I bought myself a pound of grape sugar. I had eaten that in a few days.
Slowly the life force and the desire to live returned. There has also come a change in my being. I have begun to use reason and feeling, instead of just feeling. I do not give away my last penny like I used to do before. Previously I gave away money merely because I was asked. The boys then often used it to go to the show or drink beer. I lost seventeen dollars during my first few weeks in the army. I was really going all out to give myself away. I was acting almost entirely on feelings.
For a long time I thought that it was wrong to use reason. I wanted to be led by God altogether. That was all right for a couple of months, but then some wrong forces sneaked in. I was afraid that some forces would awaken in me over which I had no control. Suddenly I became aware of great explosive forces within me. Now I am not surprised anymore that men like Hitler or Saint Francis of Assisi lived. Tremendous powers are in us. If we learn how to channel them, they will accomplish much good, if not, they will destroy others and us. It has been a great schooling. I am and we all are continually going to school.
I did not want to tell you how I was feeling, how little interest I had in life, because I did not want to worry you, dear Mother. You are the best thing I have in the world. I do not want to cause you any grief. I am still thinking about God and my desire is to know the truth. More than anything else I want to do the right thing. God knows my heart. He won’t mind that I read a Donald Duck funny book.
You have said that from a distance you see everything a little different. I also see things differently from here. Our family makes so much ado about food. We are influenced so easily and so completely by new diets. We are not very stable in our views. I hope that Hellmut’s friend will not only marry a girl only because of her unique diet. I wish he would not marry yet. It would be much better if he would wait, maybe until he is out of the army. We should ask the advice of other people who are standing on the sideline and are not involved.
Whatever you write, dear Mother, I am going to think about. I have done quite a bit of thinking, observing myself and inquiring if I shall or shall not eat meat. I have decided to eat it again. I do not have any mental opposition anymore. I do not know for how long I will eat it. I am going to see what effects it has. I have the feeling that no meat in our diet makes us more sensitive.
May I wish you a good night and pleasant dreams. We are going forward.
May God bless you,
Best regards to Arthur.
The other questions I will answer later on. Many loving greetings from Mrs. Schnuphase and Lina. Please believe me, Mrs. Schnuphase is a dear soul. How much it would mean to me would you be here with me. Ask our loving heavenly Father. He will tell you that Mrs. Schnuphase is acting with agape love towards me.
September 22, 1953
My dear Mother and Brother,
I received your dear letter with Papa’s pictures. Your letter gave me a mental and physical boost again. I still need a lot of boosts to regain my mental equilibrium. It is not so hard in our family to get mentally lopsided. I have been thinking and philosophizing so much that I had gotten in a deep rut. When I wanted to stop thinking I could not. I had lost control over my mind and partly my body too. Thanks a lot for your letter.
I am going into the field for three days; so I quickly wanted to send you this card. Mother, your love and your letters about sound living will help me to become well again. I cannot digest much of Yogananda’s teaching at the moment. Your last letter has shown me that you are gaining the balance which I would like to gain.
September 26, 1953
My dear Mother and my dear Brother,
Yesterday I received your letter from the 19th. I read your letter at my friend’s house after supper. We had potato salad, fish and green salad. My friend Johann brought me home unexpectedly, yet there was a big plate full ready for me. As a desert I read your letter. My friend took me by the hand and took me home with him because I was so tired – mentally. It is really touching to see how there are always people to help you when you are down. He gave me his fountain pen with which I am writing now as a token of his friendship. This friend has understanding for other sad hearts because eight weeks ago his father died.
What we are experiencing now, dear Mother, is another period of transmutation. I feel that we will both regain our courage and faith which are really one. I feel that with a period of rest I can go on and ahead. I feel so good and glad tonight because I have been permitted to come into the hospital as a patient this afternoon just to rest for a few days.
I never realized that there was anything like nerves which might go on the bum sometimes. I cannot blame the army for this. It is due to my own doing, due to my eagerness to know and understand this world and the next. I am resuming my search, but with a different approach. Through the grace of God I would like to learn His mysteries. If we want to know the truth regardless, we will come into dangerous water. If we learn things we are not ready for, they will hinder us rather than help. And truth we have once discovered we cannot cover up anymore. If we discover the secret of the atom before we can control it, this great and true discovery will become our destruction. So I have asked God to let me know no more than I am ready for. If we ask to know the truth, we should keep that in mind. In my case, I wanted to get ahead quickly because of vanity.
We have a tendency to think that others lead a superficial life. I wonder if that is the right thing to think? Are we not putting ourselves that way on a pedestal? Are we not saying that we are leading a more pleasing life to God? Only God can truly judge. Some people need to have the mentality to be farmers, tailors, carpenters or teachers. How could we otherwise live if no one wanted to till the soil? Should we say that farmers lead a more superficial life than ministers? I don’t think we should identify (define) superficiality or talk about the world we live in now with a low-grade character. Each world has its place; otherwise God would not have created it. It is good if we can also understand the superficial or so called superficial world.
It had become so bad with me that it was a torment for me to live with those who thought differently than I did. I had lost my ability to talk with anyone who did not speak my language. I had not a single person I could confide in. If we have isolated ourselves that much from people, there is something wrong with us. We should be able to talk to all types of people. Our world is not the only world that is good.
My search is also changing in another way. For a long time I was a good boy because I was afraid of the consequences if I am not. I want to do the right things because it is fun. If we do it the other way, we are hypocrites.
Only God knows if the split between Sonni and Papa can be mended? I think it can. I will try. I think it is Sonni’s nerves that are worn out. She needs a good rest and everything will be all right. Since the money question has come in-between, I doubt if she will come to America. I think it would have done her a lot of good. Papa wrote me today. He is playing the part of a doctor, trying to nurse his brother back to health.
I am going to take a shower now and then go to bed. Tomorrow I will write a little more. It is a little after nine now. At ten the lights have to be out. Boy, oh boy, I am getting some wonderful rest now. Good night my two good friends.
Your boy Dieter (Peter)
(The next day – Sunday)
Good morning, dear Mother and Brother,
It is a wonderful Sunday morning. Blue sky and peace is in the air. What is disturbing my personal peace now is the chocolate sickness. I love chocolate as others like to smoke a cigarette. It is really terrible how much I like chocolate. One day that must be overcome by the grace of God. Another trouble I have been having is that I have a craving to be all alone. I want to be by myself.
It is an odd thing how many of my former traits have returned again. I had prided myself already that I had overcome them. That was bad. It is through God’s grace that I had not been bothered with them for almost two years. It is the ambition to shine which prompts me to do many things. I had signed with the name, Peter, because I thought there was a connection with Peter in the Bible. Now I sign, Dieter, again. This knowledge of former incarnations had really upset me.
Should we not rather let bygones by bygones? If I don’t get the right solution the first time, then I get it the second, third or fourth time. We don’t hit the bull’s eye every time we shoot. I takes training to hit the bull’s eye. Just because we don’t hit the bull’s eye the first time is no reason why we should give up. Right? Right!!!!
I see now that I am too much affected by what others think of me, tell me and do. To be sensitive is all right. But being too sensitive is wrong. If you are too sensitive you are not the captain of your boat anymore. I often come back to Hellmut. He knows what the wants; he carries out what he wants. And also if what he does is wrong, at least he gains strength in trying.
Who are we to say this is right and that is wrong? If I would be back in the States now, I would get a kick out of going on an adventure with Hellmut – gold-mining or any kind of an adventure. And Arthur must come along also. I would not want to forget Arthur. I surely wish Arthur a happy marriage. Nothing but the best for Arthur and his wife!
Note added in 2010 by Peter at age 77: Arthur eventually divorced his wife Rosalie and Hellmut married Rosalie. They had four children. Rosalie eventually divorced Hellmut.
A few weeks ago I said, “I want to gain some weight.” Do you know what happened? I gained ten pounds. But that is also due to the fact that I have sought an escape in food. When I become more stabilized, it will be different. If someone gave me or offered me something to eat, I could not say “no” although I was already full. My mental strength was very low and still is so. But, it will build up again.
I am going to the chapel for an hour now. I will see you later …………. The service was nice. However, I only got a little out of it. Mentally I am so tired at the moment that I have difficulty in staying awake in class or church. I think what I need is rest and patient waiting for grace.
I again received a very nice letter from Geoffrey. He asked me for a picture. Could you please send him one? I have no pictures of myself here.
What did your last letter do to me? It made me happy and it made me eager to sit down to write you again and tell you how I feel. It is a peculiar thing how we experience the same thing. We must both try not to take everything so serious. I give this advice but I wished I could also follow it.
I am sleeping and resting in a light and airy room with two other men. I feel so good to be able to relax for a while. The army does not expect the impossible. If it sees that you are in need, it will try to help you. So, don’t you worry!
You are receiving the first letter from the new writing pad. The blank paper is holding many secrets. But no, we must not think ahead. That is why we make it hard for ourselves. Don’t worry what my letters will sound like. It makes it hard for me to come back if people expect me to be a certain way. Mother, I know that if no one understands me now, you will. I am sure you have gone through times in Germany when you felt that your nerves will not cooperate properly.
You should see how Mrs. Schnuphase is concerned about me. You can always be sure that there is someone a few minutes from the hospital who loves me very much.
I also receive Guide Posts a few days ago. I am enjoying reading it very much. Thanks a lot. Your intuition is working excellently.
I received Hellmut’s pictures. Thanks a lot. I really think that he doing fine. Let’s hope that he can stay out of the draft for a long time yet.
You know, I think what Sonni needs is a rest. If you will ask her to come to America with that idea, I think she might seriously consider. She is also a little afraid to come because she feels that you will heap Yogananda’s philosophy upon her.
I will wish you and Hellmut and dear Mrs. Hatvani, Arthur and his wife, Mrs. Devine and all the rest of the gang a good-bye and a good day now. I am enclosing a picture of the front of the hospital. The tents are gone. They were only set up for a special occasion before I came to the hospital. Maybe I’ll get a cheap camera and also take some pictures for you? What would you think about that?
The best wishes and lots of love from your boy Dieter (Peter)
And may God be with you all and always.
During our maneuvers last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we twice set up a series of tents like you see in the pictures.
September 29, 1953
(Translated from German)
My dear Papa and my dear loved Ones,
I do not know what I should say about all that has been happening. We must learn to submit ourselves to that Will that is higher than ours. We must not question that whatever happens to us is eventually intended for our best. If we try to understand and analyze everything, we will eventually go insane and question God’s grand design of the world.
In this season of my life I have allowed everything to impact my heart. We must not allow ourselves to be overly sensitive. To ponder about everything that is going on is unhealthy. I now try to fulfill the daily assignments placed in front of me. I went astray, drove myself insane as I tried to fathom God’s mysteries. Faith and speculating are incompatible. I now try to police my thoughts. Thinking and thinking and thinking all the time has exhausted me physically and emotionally. I lost a large amount of my physical and spiritual stamina.
I did not lose weight. On the contrary, I am heavier than before. I am only very tired. At the moment I am in the hospital as a patient trying to rest and relax. Please do not worry about me. I am being treated with a lot of tenderness. Would I be at home, you could not care for me with greater love. It is shortly before ten. At ten I must be in bed. I am sleeping exceptionally well. I am sleeping like a bear that is hibernating.
On Thursday I have a date to meet Horst (an older cousin). That is bound to be a very good day. Good night, my dear ones. Good health to you and give hearty greetings to Uncle Theo.
With love, your Dieter (Peter)
Do you think you might come to Nuremberg? That would be nice! And why should you consider coming to Nuremberg? You should come because your Dieter (Peter) is there.
Your little son Dieterchen or Dieterlein (diminutive and endearing words for the name Dieter)