Episode 35 of Attack on Titan finds a surprising focus as we learn of Ymir’s backstory, all the while as Reiner and Bertholdt try to abscond with Eren, the “coordinate.” Ymir challenges them, however, as she vows to do everything she can to meet Christa (Historia) one last time.
Ymir’s past as an orphan used in a cult, and then punished by the government and turned into a titan (this episode basically reveals that titans – perhaps all of them – were once people), helped me soften on her, helped me like her better. But none of her comrades in Attack on Titan know about that past, and they must largely feel like I did entering this episode – she’s one of the comrades, but she’s very unlikable. She’s selfish, rude, mean. Wholly unlovable.
But Historia loves her. She’s stayed by her side and proved her allegiance to Ymir so much so that the latter is sure that the former is coming for her. And she was right.
Historia’s love for Ymir is a love I long to have for those around me. There are people in my life that are much like Ymir, who are, to say the least, challenging. I have a hard time loving those people. To be honest, I have a hard time even loving people close to me when they fail to meet my standards. Grace is not something that comes easy to me.
But what makes Historia love Ymir when it seems so difficult to do so, when no one else seems to feel the same toward her? I think Ymir tells us precisely why.
Historia loves Ymir because Ymir is just the same as her. Just the same. They were both hiding, both unwilling to reveal their true selves. Ymir loves Historia because she sees that in her; Historia simply loves those around her because she lives with humility; she is no better than Ymir, so of course she would care for her.
I believe that, too, that I’m no better than that challenging co-worker, that family member who is on my last nerves, or that college kid who forgot he was supposed to meet me for lunch. When I look at my heart and analyze my thoughts and actions, Paul’s words of being the worst of sinners comes alive to me, and I feel the same. What I want is more of that, more of the reality that shows me what I truly am, and what I am now because of God’s grace. I want to be Historia, who responds in love because her heart, as well as her mind, understands that Ymir is no different. We are all, in fact, just the same.