– Carlos Frota
Here I am again, friends, to continue my story. And I am very happy in this role I assigned myself to play. Do you know why?
Because I have always been always seduced by the traditional figure of the narrator of ancient stories, transmitting to young generations, around the fire, the secrets of human wisdom, the truly human wisdom!
Agatha & Frederic. Remember ? They are both university students and Christians, but one, Frederic, is a fervent Catholic and the girl, Agatha, considers herself a Christian liberal thinker, in a large context of Christianity, but without affiliation to a specific Church.
She feels comfortable enjoying this kind of personal freedom,
Two young people, a boy and a girl, discussing serious matters.. is it unusual? Of course not.
Mainly when they are clever, well informed, educated inside normal families, with values.
“Normal families, with values” … Is this a stereotype ? Is this an artificial, fake description of reality? Yes, it is, of course .
We know very well that reality is more complex than this. We know that normal families have normal and sometimes extraordinary difficulties. We know that values also flourish in not so normal families.
But the simplification of my characters have a purpose. And the purpose is quite simple to define. The strangeness of our times affects the prospects of the future. And when we talk about the future, we talk about young people, preparing themselves to live in a difficult world, a complex world.
A world with many offers of “salvation” in the free market of ideas. From self-indulgence to self-discipline; from spiritual to material goals on how to lead our lives; from absolute obedience to a cause to absolute negation of superior values, we find everything in the different avenues of the cities around the world.
Agatha and Frederic are our improbable heroes. They are not the heroes of a tremendously exciting adventure, usual in some type of literature. They are not, except that they are …
… because life itself is THE SOLE TREMENDOUSLY EXCITING ADVENTURE worth living!
Young people with dreams, but understanding that the way dreams become reality is through hard work, serious work.
In our previous chapter we saw Agatha & Frederic, friends or a little more than this, enjoying a free afternoon.
Some moments passed until Agatha asked him, in a very humble voice, almost afraid of breaking the silence:
“Frederic, do you think our times are … unhealthy times? That our world is living a kind of prolonged disease?”
“How did this idea come up to you?” he asked, more surprised than worried about the direction of her thoughts. “We never knew other times! How can we compare?”
Agatha replied vividly: “When my parents discuss at home about what is going on, behaviors, beliefs, dreams of young people like us, I feel they are not only surprised but shocked , truly shocked about what they see …
“But … but” – impatiently interrupted Frederic, “is this not the normal way the parents’ generation see the youngsters, forgetting what they thought and did when they were the same age?”
“I don’t really know,” replied Agatha, “but I see more than this, in the way they express their feelings. You know how my parents are: moderate, not judgmental, even liberal. They always support and encourage my choices without interfering … and my freedom is the direct consequence of the way they respect me. But I see a kind of panic when they express their opinions about our time … very often they say that they don’t see the way … only the walls … a kind of shadow above us all ….”
“Do you know what is good in Christianity?” said Frederic, putting an end to such a lugubrious meditation. “Christianity forbids hopelessness. It is not in our hands to anticipate the end of times. God gives us a lamp to illuminate our path. And the lamp continues to protect us from darkness until we change direction, by our own and free choice.”
“This is not a little bit simplistic?” And he saw irony in her voice and in her expression. He almost completed the idea her lips refused to verbalize: “How can he be so naïve, a person like him?”
And suddenly she asked herself, eventually for the first time: “And if … IF … fundamental choices in life are not so complicated? And if … IF it’s not culture or university degrees and good jobs, successful careers that define human beings, but clear and simple choices between good and evil, decency and the opposite, generosity and egoism?”
Frederic looked at her intensely, trying to figure out what she was thinking about. But he respected her silence.
“Fred,” she said a little later, with tenderness in her voice, “I think I understand your point. God built inside us very simple choices ….”
“And not only that!” Frederic’s voice regained strength “God gives us inspiration to change the world.”
“Come on, Fred, we are so powerless!” complained Agatha. “We are very small people fighting a gigantic figure, evil itself !”
“Uhm …” replied Frederic, “Do you remember the fight in the Bible between David and Goliath? And do you remember the one who was destroyed ? In the beginning he was invincible ….”
“I know what you are thinking,” anticipated Agatha. “God was on David’s side!”
“Those are the stories of the chosen people God promised never to forsake, a long long time ago!” she slowly replied, sad.
“But, I wonder, considering the situation of the world in our time, God is not tempted to choose another Noah and command him to build a new ark, more sophisticated this time, with the new technologies available nowadays?”
“Now I am aware that you tired, with all these apocalyptic thoughts! Let’s go! Let’s go to the garden close to the university where we can enjoy the rest of the afternoon.”
“Ok … ok,” Agatha replied, wishing also to move to another place and to another topic of the conversation.
And in the garden they saw children playing, under the watchful gaze of their parents, and they became aware of the beauty of the world around them, the world God created.
Agatha and Frederic looked to each other and suddenly in their eyes and in their hearts the idea of one family, theirs, was born. And tenderly their hands touched and firmly became one.
And she remembered what Frederic said: “Hopelessness is not Christian!”