I envy little kids. Especially when they laugh. Or even when they’re distressed, I envy their full trust when their parents and protectors say that everything will be OK.
By now millions around the world have seen the very touching conversation between a father and son about the tragedy that happened a week ago in Paris. Both the depth and simplicity of what they expressed revealed a truth about our human lives, where grief and beauty, sadness and strength, fear and comfort, concerns and happiness, intermingle.
As little children, grief seems to scar us less deeply. Fear can be fleeting and sadness temporary. Part of it is the bliss from ignorance and innocence, both a blessing. As adults, though, realization about life, knowledge of things good and evil, do not permit us to forget so easily. Moments of happiness can be infused with worry, knowing that good things don’t always last. The knowledge of life’s trajectory toward physical deterioration and death, even an intimate experience with death, can easily tinge our entire reality.
This knowledge is not bad, since it puts a check in our paths to not be so careless and irresponsible. It informs us on how to best live, to empathize and extend compassion, knowing that the same unfortunate things can very well happen to us too.
There are plenty of reasons to be somber and melancholic today, with the many wrong and fearful things happening in the world, the skepticism towards leaders and policies, and the feeling of hopelessness that may come as a result. Many of these are appropriate.
Yet we also must not lose our capacity for joy, for beauty, wonder, love, and hope. We are not to be morose all the time, but somehow simultaneously celebrate the fragrant things in life.
To me, Brandon (the son) and Angel (the father) showed this precisely, the courage to face tragedy—not being ignorant of it—mingled with the beauty of hoping and believing in the power of good.
It is simply our lot to know both good and evil, and we must live graciously with it.
Have you watched Brandon and Angel’s conversation? What do you think of the video?