We all have the right to a second chance
It is election time in Greece (local government and European Parliament). Certain discussions on social media have triggered a certain discussion I had with two young scientists a long time ago. Towards the end of that meeting I would be wondering how a human soul could possibly be a lost cause. And how to move past the pain behind hurtful words.
When ‘being different’ isn’t understood
Somewhere in Greece, far back in time, I attended a meeting. During the coffee break, there I am, having a chat with two young men – two young scientists. While chitchatting, I see them turn round and hear them say: “Oh, look who’s here!” Without realising it, I look towards the entrance, to see who has just walked inside. And who the two young men have turned their back on.
I would see a young woman walk by as if in a hurry. Right now, I can’t remember if she came in with her head low. Intense moments elicit intense emotions and influence what we see. At some point, the two young men start commenting on her behaviour. What they are portraying as annoying, to me it sounds like a desperate attempt to communicate with others. Possibly the desperate attempt of a young person to find their place in society; to feel heard by others; to feel accepted for who they are.
The need to defend a human soul
I feel the need to defend the young woman. Well, to defend all of us who have heard the phrase: “Oh, look who’s here!” I have been in a similar situation, so I know how it feels. And I know I’m not the only one. Interestingly, the younger we are, the harder it is to remain unaffected – by negativity. And to explain to ourselves that this is simply the opinion of someone who doesn’t know us and for their own reasons, doesn’t wish to get to know us better. Wondering how it feels to hear that phrase when you are about to enter the world of adults? As if you have no right to share the same space with others. As if your dreams and wishes aren’t worthy.
My attempt to defend a young person doesn’t have the desired effect. I feel uncomfortable when I hear them say: “Lost cause” .. I would repeat that phrase many times, within me. Oh, what if she has heard the phrase, I wonder. Does she feel uncomfortable; Most probably .. I now wonder how many times those young men may have heard the same phrase, addressed to them. It turns out that we tend to use hurtful words we have already heard them being addressed to us or our beloved ones.
Difficult words, difficult thoughts
Even when in an utter whisper, words hurt more than actions. Yes, they may hurt more. Think of words which denote rejection or lack of acceptance by our beloved ones or even acquaintances. They may leave an indelible mark on the human soul, difficult to discern yet one making its presence felt.
I have tried to understand how a human soul could possibly be a lost cause, without any prospects. I can understand the figurative use of “lost” to refer to an individual who feels that they have lost their destination or direction in life. Or to someone who walks through life without any guidance or support. That someone could work on finding a new destination or the support they need. But a lost cause?
The importance of being at a transitional phase
Coming back to today, to the fiscal crisis we are still experiencing, and the realisation that any crisis is part of community life.
I am having a nice coffee chat with new friends, some peers. I hear them say that they are going through a transition in their life. That they are at a transitional phase:
And so it is. Life isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Our needs have changed. We have changed as well.
That is the fact. Interestingly, now we have the chance to work towards finding a place in society to suit us more. And to be better prepared for the next crisis. Now, we are competing against crisis to move to the next stage.
Even if we have lost the first round (if we feel so), we haven’t lost the game of life. There is “the interval” to take time to consider the next step. To claim our right to a second chance.
Football-wise, when would we say that a match was great to watch? When the result is overturned in the last couple of minutes in the game, or when the less likely team to win actually wins the game. I like football; this is gender equality in practice!
The game of life continues and invites us to use words which enhance the belief in ourselves. Now is the time to clarify; hope; trust; persist. What would you add to the list?
No, I can’t accept that a human soul could be a lost cause. No matter where we are in life, or what difficulties we are facing, “our case” hasn’t been tried. There is always hope. There is a second chance waiting for us to claim it.
Message of optimism
How would I like to end the story? I would like to say, again, that the game of life continues. Let me put it this way: the story continues. Through the second half, the game will be more interesting, with pleasant turns and a happy ending. Are we ready?
Have a creative week!
Lately, I have been following on social media the work of Ulrich Janse van Vuuren, a human rights activist based in Johannesburg. Ulrich has been cruising South Africa to discover and showcase people and places in his home country. When he visited Sandton, in Johannesburg, he discovered and took a photo of the sign attached to this story: Be Kind. For me, this sign reminds us that it is important to be kind to others and to ourselves; to talk to us in a respectful way and to encourage us to enjoy the interval before the next step.