"To live with the conscious knowledge of the shadow of uncertainty, with the knowledge that disaster or tragedy could strike at any time; to be afraid and to know and acknowledge your fear, and still to live creatively and with unstinting love: that is to live with grace".
Peter Henry Abrahams
Sometimes I miss my youth.
I miss foremost the feeling of physically "being young".
However, I also miss something else, something much more profound.
I miss the unblemished mindset.
I miss the purity of the heart and soul.
The privilege of youth carries many advantages, the best of them being the luxury of what feels as the endless quantity of time.
Additionally, it also offers the asset of a clean slate. Our life, when we are young, is an empty canvas, with an untouched, unspoiled past.
Today I recall with fondness the way I once was. When my complexion was pristine and smooth, without the traces of years. When laughter would escape my lips more often, then the sobs of pain and when the tears were more absent, than present. I felt strong and capable. Nothing touched me, nothing scared me. I met life head on, although lacking self confidence, I never lacked courage. I viewed my future as an incredible adventure, never focusing on the bad, expecting only the best. My reality was black and white, with no gray areas. I knew right from wrong with conviction. Doing the right thing was always easy.
Over the years, this innocence disappeared slowly. The terms right and wrong became less clearly defined. Many things felt right, but I knew they were wrong. And the other way around. I remember the realization of unfairness. When the outcome of my actions became more significant, when decisions became harder to reach. When the calls I made effected others, when hate displaced love and when I was forced to accept what I felt was wrong and damaging. When I was put into situations that were hurtful and faced with problems impossible to solve. When dreams were crushed and the safety nets removed.
Today I know, that everything we encounter in life, has a meaning, if we are sensitive enough to acknowledge it. In fact I am convinced of it. Bad things will happen to us, it is inevitable. It is all about how we deal with them, that matters.
The magic of my youth is forever gone. But it would be very wrong to say that my integrity or strength has left with it, even though it felt that way at times.
The greatest enchantment that I find in me and others, is the one I can read in the lines of the face. Nothing is more appealing than beauty that comes from experience of a life lived.
I tend not to admire the winners, but the losers who won the prize despite it all, because they never stopped trying. Those, who were tested in the school of life and failed, but did not give in or give up. Those, who despite the obstacles and unfairness they faced, did not become cynical and mean.
It is easy to be courageous, when we have yet not fought.
It is easy to be strong, when the burden of our past is light.
It is easy to be happy, when our memory offers no dark corners.
It is easy to be righteous, when we have nothing to lose.
Authentic strength and integrity lies in the ability to feel happiness despite having experienced pain. In the will to go on, despite obstacles and fear. In the capability to love, through disappointments and rejections. In our capacity to forgive unconditionally those who did us wrong.
It lies in our potential to always continue to dream and hope, at any age, at any time.
In the middle of the most difficult time I can ever recall in my past, when I felt incapable of any control over my life; I heard a song and found incredible comfort in the lyrics. They gave me hope and reassurance of brighter days ahead. This musical piece has a special and important place in my heart. Every time I hear it, I am reminded of the fact that sometimes it only takes a moment in time to set things right.