The self that is already us

Publish date 18-07-2021

by Rosanna Tabasso

We have been living with Covid for a year and despite still having a time of limitations ahead of us, we feel that it is important to start over by rebuilding what the pandemic has cracked: the social fabric. Not that she did it all by herself, she simply hit what was already wobbling: that "we" that is the basis of every community. How long have we been repeating this to ourselves? There is no longer a sense of community, there is no participation, we are closed, individualistic, selfish. Then we were forced into isolation, distancing and it was the coup de grace. Now we want to go back to how we lived before the closures, but returning to reunite is not enough to rediscover meaning, belonging to a community. We need to start again from the motivations of knowing that we are brothers, guardians of one another, guardians of the place and time we live, as we have been thought of by God. There is a fraternity that must be strengthened.

Concretely, we start again from proximity, from the people we are close to, from the territory in which we live, from associations, groups, people with whom we already share a lot to reinforce the good that everyone needs, to rethink what we can do and for whom; how we can do it and with whom ... There is a need to change the quality of social life, to plan a change from below. We need to meet to talk to each other about how we see life, how we think about the future, how we can help each other face the crisis we are experiencing together, the challenges that await us. Passing "from I to us" is the future as God desires it and as his Word indicates to us. A handful of people who have in common the desire for good can do a lot: they see the needs of their territory, look at people, recognize the needs of the weakest and begin to understand that they can do something that produces a diffusive good.

If we start from here then perhaps passing under the arcades of Via Roma, in Turin or in other cities, we will begin to look at those who sleep on the street, on cardboard beds and makeshift blankets, with different eyes. And it will not be the distracted or indifferent gaze we have had up to now, but it will be the encounter with people. Those who live on the street show us contradictions, wounds, mistakes that we would never want to see, into which we can all fall or at least be touched by someone close to us. One cannot generalize, they are not all the same, each person has a complex history that led him there. Many, for example, are on the road because they no longer trust anyone. Rebuilding a relationship of trust can reverse the trend and each of us can make a difference. An encounter can change our life; it has happened to us many and many times. If we consider that the other is a person, we can go beyond the first hasty answers: there are already those who deal with these problems ... The State must take care of it ... What can I do alone, young, just married, with a small house ... Basically they are reasonable thoughts and summarize the complexity of today's life, in which to face problems you cannot improvise, you have to prepare.

If we starts again, what we cannot do alone, we will be able to do it together and a chance meeting can change our life and that of many: seek a confrontation with competent people who already have experience, decide to take the field as a "we", a small group of friends, neighbors, parishioners, build a project, take charge of a person and try to help him get his life back in hand. It takes a desire for good, a desire to understand, to train and then constancy, because when the door is opened to a person, it cannot be closed again.

The will of a handful of people to take care of someone known on the street can set a neighborhood, a parish in motion and change the orientation of a territory. Of course, the institutions must deal with it and it is our duty as citizens to urge them to do so, but there is also a need for our proximity, our initiative, our belief in it. Our Arsenals are places of rest, safe shelters for many who have nothing but the road but, as a boy told us, we would need one in every city, indeed in every neighborhood of our cities ... We answered that boy that the Arsenals can be copied and shattered into a thousand good initiatives, even small and widespread everywhere.

Rosanna Tabasso
NP March 2021

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