by Alina Boie, M.S.
I recently saw some inspirational videos that made me rethink and readjust my idea of life. Our society in a way builds a sense of selfishness in each of us. Although technology connects us to people more than ever before, we are rather disconnected from each other. Look for example in the subway. You can safely say that maybe more than 80% of the people around us are surfing on their phone while ignoring the reality around them. How many times have you sat on a bus or subway and just observed people? Look at their body language; hear their struggles, happiness or just frustration. Try it one day; see how much you fill your soul with humanity. I don’t necessarily think that being more focused on ourselves is a bad thing. I believe we need to keep ourselves on our priority list. At the same time though, by just focusing on our lives we miss so much from life.
Just like other people, I found myself in the past couple of days caught so much in my own struggles, deadlines, projects, and work that for one minute I thought that there might not be any hope for a change. I was having one of these moments when you think that the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away that you almost ask yourself “How long do I have to wait until I can enjoy life again?” That very day, I was looking for some videos online for a project I am working on. In my search, I found three videos that changed my view on reality. In one of these videos, a man came to compete in the “Australia has Talent” show. He wasn’t able to say how old he was for sure because he didn’t know when he was born. Both he and his brother were born during a war period in Iraq. They were just babies when they were abandoned in a shoebox in a park. Having only half of their legs and arms, they needed immediate surgery. They were taken to an orphanage where “an angel” (their adoptive mom) came and saved them. She took them to Australia, where they got not only medical attention but also lots of love and care. The day of the show, his family was there. He presented his story and sang “Imagine” by John Lennon. I was so touched to see how a person whose life experience is so different than mine was so resilient. Your misery is the result of a war and yet you are singing “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. That is just unbelievable. This person can’t walk right, neither can he write, or eat by himself but yet he is so optimistic and so full of hope. You can see in his eyes how much he loves life and people. His case reminded me of a child I used to teach. He was in 6th grade and one day came very sad into my classroom. He needed to talk. The night before his house burnt down. His family watched helplessly as everything vanished in front of their eyes. He was heartbroken for what happened but his sadness was beyond just losing everything. He told me that he knows everything will turn out to be just fine because he knows he has a family that loves him and any object in this world could be replaced. He added, “You know my father taught me that whenever life gives you lemons you should learn how to make lemonade.” I tried to comfort him saying that everybody goes through hard times in life, but that these struggles make us stronger. He then asked me what my struggles were at the time. I told him that I was homesick and that being away from my family was hard. He then turned to me, cleared his tears, and said “ I know you are away from your family and that must be very hard, but look, you are able to be here listening to me today and making me feel better. “ He then gave me a hug and said, “You now have a family here too.” I was so touched by this sixth grader, and I couldn’t help tearing up because although this kid lost everything he was able to care for my trivial struggles.
Life is full of amazing people. Next time you think your problem is unbearable, awful, or the end of the world, look around you and think again. There will be always someone who will have bigger obstacles in their lives. Most of us are resilient and although we get to a point where we believe that there is no way out, we come to find that there is always hope. We are stronger than we think or that we can ever imagine. Just don’t doubt your strength and your ability to cope with your struggles. I believe everything has a reason behind it and although it is hard to see it, we come to find out that harsh times make us better and more human.