Kicking up dust, resisting Lucifer and finding salvation in love (continued)
Kicking up dust can be an annoying thing if someone else does it in your face, but when you do it to hide the newness of your shoes, so that you don’t stand out before your friends who can’t afford new shoes, it can be a humble way of showing love and belonging. But we love to be flashy, don’t we?
The innocence of childhood
Growing up in the village was not easy for me. I went to school with some children who had to walk a good 10km to and from school. They used to walk barefooted. The uniform, or what resembled a uniform, was a pair of patched up shorts and a tattered shirt. My parents could afford to clothe us and they were not apologetic about it. Surrounded by all this poverty, I felt very uncomfortable, so I decided I would try to look as dirty as my friends. I wanted to be like one of them. I remember getting a new pair of shoes! How difficult it was for me to go to school in my new shoes. I decided I would kick up dust on my way to the classroom, in an effort to get my new shoes dirty. My friends couldn’t see me in new shoes when they were walking barefooted … I would think to myself. I loved them. But when something is new no matter how much you try to trash it the newness always shines through. My friends would always see that I had something brand new. I couldn’t hide it forever.
My behaviour, though, did not go down well with my father who wanted me to always meet his standard of smartness. He would be mad at me for getting the new shoes dirty. I had to be my own person, he would say. I listened to him begrudgingly. Why should I look smart when my friends were in tatters? I loved my friends very much and it hurt to see them in such a sorry state.
The world has its own rules
My father knew that life has no guarantees. He knew that in order to survive you had to be ahead of your competition, including your own friends. The world does not care whether you have clothes or not. It just keeps rolling. No one really cares, at least most of the times. In your darkest hour, the world will not even switch on the lights for you. The defenceless can just be swallowed up and everyone else will go to work as if nothing happened. Experience had taught my father that life can be ruthless. The world can deal you whatever cards it felt you deserved, no matter what you do.
Love can easily be replaced by hatred. The world can simply choose to hate you and when it does, it hates intensely. Someone once said ‘You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’ll be someone who hates peaches.’ It doesn’t matter what you do. It is so bad that even the good Samaritans get murdered. No pun intended. You may be civil and apologetic but the same friends who you are civil to will turn and bite you in the back. Watch out and be on the look out always. My father said.
Where is the love?
It is often said that we are born wrapped in love. One of the first emotions we learn as humans is love. When our mothers embrace us and feed us we feel loved and we know it. It is a warm feeling. Where, then, does the love go? Is the world that powerful, so influential? Or do we just choose to be BAD when the option to love is right there in front of us? Recently CNN carried the story of an 85-year-old lady who was stabbed 11 times in her Paris apartment by her 27-year-old neighbour. The old lady, Mireille Knoll, a survivor of the holocaust 75 years ago, met her death in the hands of an anger filled young man who simply hated her for being a Jew! How many more acts of violence do we see that are caused by our differences as human beings? Racism, sexism, tribalism, albinism, materialism are some of the differences we have as humans and these can cause us to hate one another. The world can teach hatred, intense hatred to those who allow their mindsets to be altered by our differences.
No to the Lucifer Effect
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo (www.penguinrandomhouse.com/the-lucifer-effect) wrote, ‘The line between good and evil lies at the centre of every human heart.’ And ‘when you think of yourself less as an individual and allow your actions to be controlled by a situation, you are likely to lose yourself to the power of evil.’ We should always choose love over evil, after all ‘the salvation of man is through love and in love.’ (Viktor Frankl, Man’s search for meaning)
Where do you fit in?
Have you ever been around some people and wondered if they were Lucifer’s children? They are so horrible you wonder how they sleep at night. The way they treat other human beings at the work place, or how they embarrass and beat up their spouses at home. How can a new position at work change you into a monster overnight? Because someone broke your heart, why should you go around hurting other people? Resist the temptation and keep as much love in your heart as possible.
‘Love, oh love, what a blessed thing’
Yes, you can live in this world and not allow it to change you. The world may sell ‘evil’ at a cheap price, you don’t have to buy. It may be unforgiving and ruthless, look for genuine friends and they’ll give you a hug. A great many choose goodness and love over the evil of the world. Many more choose to build trustworthy and lasting relationships. They shun gossip, hatred and malice and many choose love, oh love that blessed thing. They would rather protect their loved ones than expose them. They lift them high and not hang them out to dry.