With social media and accessible internet on our smartphones and tablets, news gets passed on very quickly amongst us. Unfortunately the negative reports are the ones that tend to spread faster. One is easily reminded in Dun Rene’s tragic death last Sunday. A news that shocked us all and got us thinking on the fragility of life.
Yet despite living through sad, challenging, and unjust situations one must never lose hope. It is that same hope that allowed Guido Orefice (played by Roberto Benigni) in La Vita è Bella to keep on smiling and seeing everything from a positive angle in order to prevent his son, from realizing the horrible reality of the Nazi concentration camp he was living in. Orefice wasn’t denying the reality but preferred smiling and joking to protect his son.
This may seem to be an attractive concept yet unattainable. But is this so? One may also argue that this may be very superficial and not a sincere way of living. Is it fair to be always smiling and energetic even though one’s father is in hospital? Or your best friends has just passed away?
The answer is no! It is not just. What I am saying is that the difference is one’s perspective on life. One may either continue focusing on one’s problems and realities or live to serve others. I am sure that we all experienced a sense of freedom and peace when we tried to be there for others instead of calculating all the negative and tragic situations in our lives. By giving genuine smiles to the people we are close to may give our lives more meaning. I do not in any way want to diminish the sad news we all received last Sunday. However I am sure that even Dun Rene would have preferred it if we focus on his endless generosity and infectious smile rather than focus on our loss.
Another example are the Missionaries of Charity, otherwise known as the Sisters of Mother Teresa. I have had the honour of working with them for a number of years and their smiles was something that always struck me as special. It is not difficult to see the difference between a forced smile and one which is freely given at every encounter. Many questions are therefore raised. How can these women who live in poor conditions so far from their homeland manage to constantly smile and love others. The answer is simple as is their lifestyle. Despite having few personal belongings they have one special relationship which makes up for all their discomforts.