Courage: An immigrant perspective

I’ve had the pleasure of talking to an older immigrant lady about the current situation in the world. She was born in Europe in the early 60s and grew up in the most prosperous time in history, possibly ever. Her youth was the blessed youth of 70s and 80s. That abruptly changed in 1991 when the country in which she grew up, finished school and started a family was plunged into a bloody civil war with wholesale destruction of society. Next 10 years were dark as she saw her country being destroyed, she had to flee to Canada and had to start basically from 0 in a new country with no family, friends or knowledge of English. Through hard work and much sacrifice, she built a new life for herself, made friends, gained social standing and self respect in her new environment. But alas, good time were not to last and 2020 came around with its mass hysteria, collective madness and a foreshadowing of dark things to come. What was amazing in this conversation was both what this lady said to me and how she said it. In discussing the world of today she had a calm smile on her face while she said “My husband and I will not see good times again in this lifetime, but my son will. It will take years, but good times will come back”. This, to me, is profound wisdom. It acknowledges cyclicality of history and human society where good times and bad follow one another. It is real and honest because it doesn’t hide from the ugly truth. That is what makes it courageous. After all what can be gained by ignoring hard truths except transient and ephemeral comfort. It is by facing our fears head on that we overcome them. Yes, hard times are coming, acknowledge it, own it, respect it. We will be uncomfortable or in danger, many of us will see hardships, but it will pass, and sun will shine again. This peaceful resolve, with a smile to boot, of hard but inalienable truths, was inspiring to me on so many levels. If a woman in her 60s can be this brave and accepting of reality, surely the rest of us can too.

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