Live as a witness

Let’s live knowing grains of sand


These days in the master’s degree that I am doing we have had the gift of being able to listen to two people who have spoken to us about old age and aging. The master’s degree, in educational support, covers all the stages that the person lives and of course, includes old age.

In their sharing, each of them spoke with great generosity, in addition to the theory and what “should be”, of their personal experience with their elders and that there is nothing like seeing incarnated what they tell you.

As Franco Nembrini says, “The essence of the art of educating is all here: in experiencing goodness, beauty, and happiness in one’s own life.”

Witnesses who testify with their lives what they speak. Educators who share what good things they have experienced firsthand.

We complain about the society we are “living” and we do not realize that we are here, building it. We throw our hands up at the news and what they say, but perhaps, we do not turn to ourselves to see what testimony we give or, even further, if we are giving it.

Jesus, before leaving for heaven, left some very clear words that call us to go out on a mission. Let’s tell what is good and true that we have been lucky enough to know.

Society clearly tries to stop us from doing it and insists on canceling everything that goes beyond the single reigning thought, first, to God, but we must count on this from minute one. It was like this, in the time of Jesus Christ, it is like this and it will be.

So, the question here is, what am I doing and what do I decide to do? Given what happens, faced with the reality that surrounds me, do I get into the trench and hide, or do I get out of it?

I once heard Monsignor Reig Plá say that we Catholics had retreated to the trenches, and that this had allowed evil to advance. Today that image helps me see myself as a soldier, the lowest of all, but like all soldiers I have a mission: the defense of the castle. In this case, the defense of a common good and values that are attacked every day, but fundamental for a society where people are the center and the driving force.

It is true that the castle is built on rock and that there is something much more solid, stronger and truer than my strength to defend it, but as a soldier I must defend it. It is necessary.

Not with bombs or guns, but with the weapons of faith, truth, justice and of course love. This translates into not getting carried away by that confrontation that exists more and more. Because of that apathy of “as long as I’m fine, I don’t care about the rest” or because of the fear of what people will say or think about me.

It means opening your ears to listening to the other. Open your gaze to make it deeper and broader. It means talking, a lot and with a lot of openness. It means knowing yourself as small but very big at the same time. As great as that dignity that each one of us has as people. It means being witnesses full-time and not part-time, in certain forums or moments, but always.

What do you do with what you have been given? Do you hide it underground, or do you put it to bear fruit? Do you share it? Do you share yourself? These are questions that resonate with me. With peace, without troubling me, but they do help me wake up and realize.

The class the other day was a wonderful example of how to put what we have at the service of others because we all have or will have an elder in our families or close environments. A person who, by natural law, walks towards the end of his earthly life and sees how he is reaching the end. A person with a heart that needs to be accompanied like everyone else, but at a different pace and differently. A person who – if I don’t leave before – will also be me one day.

We are all companions, and we have the decision in our hands of how to respond. And a society that does not take care of its elders is a society doomed to failure.

Clearly, the conditions of our life are not the best. The work is very demanding, and we live in a rush society. Personally, I always lack an hour to be able to do what I would have liked to do during the day, but the decision to care for and accompany our elders and how to do it must transcend these circumstances. It is a personal decision, of how I am and want to be, where the red lines of what we do not want must illuminate what we do want.

That is giving testimony. That is doing and bearing fruit in our reality, where God has placed us. That is working for a more humane society, where the elderly, the most vulnerable, are cared for. That’s being fair, that’s showing love. And a society that does not take care of its elders is a society doomed to failure.

Accompany those who accompanied us. Travel by their side, at their pace, doing the art of the possible for their good. Put aside comfort to make way for delivery.

How many older people are there alone? In the residences, there are many who do not receive visitors and who live in deep loneliness. It is a sad reality of today to which we should pay more attention and ask ourselves, what do I do?

Our elders are a gift. They are a source of life and knowledge. Thanks to them, we exist, and they have a heart that needs to be cared for. Because remembering García Márquez, death does not come with old age, it comes with oblivion.

Let’s work for a society where our elders are cared for. For an education where new generations are taught to look at them. For a legal system that helps us be able to accompany them and not, as now, that leads them to be alone and to euthanasia.

Let’s live knowing our grains of sand. Let us live as witnesses.