The value of tears and smiles

With good reason, Western civilization found in the paradox founded on death, martyrdom and religion, a safe haven to face misery and project its future.

It is of the social nature to yearn for progress and achievements creating adventures of change; since we have always felt obliged to transform the ways of seeing the world and the actions on it. Making tears and smiles inevitable, mourning and dreams as if they were the wings of a bird in flight.

Approaching sadness and suffering as sure omens of death, seeking to appease its impacts, is possible if we look in others for what is inevitable in us. It is common to feel death pass by if it does not knock on our doors and on the weakness of the body while we are healthy. That is why it is not a fatality to say: “the end of my life is near as I move forward”, rather it strengthens the sense of existence and allows the most pressing and daily difficulties to be addressed with emotional realism.

Being merciful – as one who feels the misery of the other and helps him – in the way that the Master of Nazareth taught and Mother Teresa of Calcutta practiced, costs us so much because it is normal to learn only what we experience on our own skin. And we do not always have the attitude to be even empathetic with someone who is not in our interests. Therefore, it is necessary to make efforts to “support those who support” the vulnerable people in the community. Mercy is anchored in the soul when we imitate the good examples of others. Mercy is the practice of love that defines any adult person, in such a way that by alleviating the ills of others we cure our own ailments.

The strong times of the annual cycle such as the beginning of summer, Christmas times, the anniversary of the death of the grandmother, the memories of a storm, etc., are continually configured and remade, evoking those days, whether of tears or smiles. Hence, it is essential to dedicate enough time to those events of the past, with symbols built by ourselves, for example: with meals to taste, in places of reference, invite family and friends to meet; in order to sing the songs of always, make collective prayers, commune in everything that makes us related; in such a way as to wipe away tears or incorporate them to turn them, too, into expressions of joy and uplifting memories.

Own or other’s experiences that flow from the framework and assembly of suffering and joys, configure the ethical character, as a lifestyle. With which we face difficulties, overcoming them and learning to sweetly celebrate what can be celebrated. Thus, with experiences we define ourselves in values; and, by prioritizing over things, we also learn to elaborate criteria and strengthen the systems of norms, as indispensable instruments of due behavior; to “float out” of crises, listening to afflictions with the ears of the spirit, and transforming ourselves into adults in permanent construction.

* Dominican friar from the Ak’Kután center in Cobán Alta Verapaz.

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