The (good) thought of the week
In a world where evil is the protagonist, that dominates front pages and magazine covers and monopolises the headlines, that seeps into our souls and is entrapped in every cell of our body,
I could not help but wonder, are we all addicted?
Readers, viewers, journalists, columnists and producers seem to be anticipating the next piece of bad news. For the next “Who would have imagined it?”
Are we getting addicted; do we sink increasingly into a sea of negative news?
And yet we live in a society where good is considered obsolete, in a society that cedes daily principles, values, unwritten oral laws and elementary rules of noble behavior.
In a society that tolerates vandalism, a constant desecration of everything that has the status of “public” or “tasteful” …
In a society that tolerates entire cities being hostage to distasteful graffiti and scribblings as profound as “Soula I want you” along with a garnish of chewing gum attached to each bench, chair and desk.
Ιn a society that appears to have set itself a mission not to leave a street sign, a bus stop and a sign upright.
In a society that has accepted and has become addicted to an urban brashness.
In this society its citizens are becoming uglier. From the inside out.
Slowly and torturously. Like its winters.
And yes, all the above may be true, but the good grows even where the seed is not sown.
It is an evergreen plant, non-endemic, grows everywhere and just needs a bit of watering…
And in this little notebook that I carry everywhere with me, I realise that I have so many coded stories, so many powerful love stories. And no matter if we realise it or not we are all part of a subdued common solidarity that will probably never make it to the front pages. But does it really matter?
And somehow, now that I scribble down these thoughts on a flight to Greece, I realise that we are all participating daily in miracles, big or small, and it is worthwhile to honor these stories that justify our title as “people”. In Greek we say “Anthropos” (=άνω θρώσκω) meaning looking up … The only creature who looks up and can look at God, implying the progression of man towards God.
The first rain fed the starved soil. And it was like redemption. A vindication.
The first drizzle was followed by a clap of thunder and lightning. Visibility was no more than half a meter while the air was sweeping away everything in its path.
We were at the airport. Without bellows and buses to lead you to the aircraft.
All passengers were looking at each other uncomfortably.
The distance that separated us from the aircraft was just a few meters away, but the rain was intensifying by the second.
The ground staff were explaining that we needed to get on board.
I was trying to sort out my passport, my mobile and all that I had in my hands, and i was getting prepared for the rain “battle”.
In my visual field, I noticed a handsome young guy, no more than 20 years old.
And right next to him a mom, with a huge bag draped across her body as well as a trolley bag and a sleeping baby in her arms …
In the next second, another child almost 2 years old appeared. And in the successive shot you could see two more children, that were carrying with them their hand luggage in one hand while holding hands. The whole spectacle was so cinematic and surreal.
We emerged into the rain. The mom with the hand luggages and the 4 children.
The young man made the first move. The “good” always starts from someone. It’s never initiated by the many. Only one or just a few are dragging the rest.
Because “good” is transmitted at epidemic speeds …
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Within a split second, the young man with absolute calmness and confidence grabed a child in his arms, said something to the mom but the answer came in another language. And just like that the mom gave him one child, in a silent conspiracy of love. She simply entrusted him with her child.
At the same moment he looked at me.
And almost at the same time I nodded yes. I took the second baby in my arms and another gentleman grabbed her hand bag and the bigger kid by the hand.
We started running in the rain. Children didn’t know us but they were hugging us tightly. The young man has wrapped his baby’s body and head with his sweater in one of the most affectionate cinematic images.
My “baby” was curling over me, and he was holding me with his arms in a tight hug. He was smelling this unforgettable baby smell and I was speaking to him in English.
He certainly could not understand me, but at the same time he understood me.
We were all soaked, but we had saved the children, which had barely gotten wet.
The mom arranged the children in their seats and started thanking us in Italian. The gentleman raised her hand luggage over the seats. The mom gave us a warm handshake and looked at us with enormous appreciation. We told her that we will come over after landing to help her again and she told us in a melodic way “Nice people, good Greeks”! She tried to tell us more, but we had blocked the corridor and the flight attendants were asking us to move out of the way.
We didn’t exchange phones. We did not even share our names
Most likely, we will never meet again.
It was nothing that great. Nor was humanity saved.
But a difficult, simple moment brought us closer. It mobilised our human reflexes.
In a world that is hidden behind mobiles and headphones and everyone is experiencing the journey alone, we had been transformed momentarily into citizens.
We became transformed from ordinary tourists into a society.
It was one of these moments that unknown people opened their arms to other people.
And it was nice.
And you may think that doing good means bloody, grandiose actions. No. Good asks for small shifts.
All it asks from you is to change the composition of your soul so it finds a little bit of space to enthrone itself.
PS. The next time that you see a mom alone with children, give a helping hand. Give your place inline. Give her priority … She will give you back her soul.
PS2. And for those wondering why a mom was travelling alone with with four children, when we were waiting for our luggages she explained everything,.
Her husband was away for a business trip and she was travelling in order to attend a family funeral. She had nobody that could take care of the kids back home, so she decided to travel with all of them.
And with tears swelling in her eyes, she said:
“I didn’t think about how I will travel with 4 kids. I just booked the tickets. Somehow I knew that nice people would help me. I had to be here. I wouldn’t miss it. Σας ευχαριστώ! ”.
And I felt proud of her, not only for the four kids, not just for her sweetness. But especially for her power and will to be somewhere when almost no one would have dared to attempt it. And at the same time I was feeling proud for this young boy who encouraged us all.
And my heart melted.
When people are beautiful, they are very beautiful.
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