We have given up many things dear to us this year. We have struggled. We have missed the light at the end of the tunnel. We have been afraid. We were in despair. We sank into gloomy thoughts. We lost many things. We helped. We showed solidarity.
Some were very solidary and some very selfish. As is always the case in normal lives. But this year it was not a normal life.
My grandparents never talked to me about the war they experienced. Only my parents, who can’t really remember because they were too young, told some stories. For example, how the whole family ran to the second basement floor during the bomb scare to protect themselves from possible bombs. How they had to stay close together in a small space with all the neighbours for hours in the cold until the danger was over. I was very interested in all that. I had dealt with the war a lot during my own adolescence. I tried to understand what it was like, how one felt, what one feared, what life was like in an exceptional situation. For a while I only read books about the war to try to understand what it was like. I think I never succeeded. In the end, I was grateful only to read about it, but not to have experienced it myself. I watched the life of my friend who had to flee the Balkan war with a small child. She had to leave her husband behind. An unspeakably difficult situation, which she had mastered with inhuman strength.
In the war, the enemies were clear. Now the enemy, a small virus, is known but invisible and unpredictable. When I read now that more Americans have died from Corona than American soldiers during WW2, I get goosebumps. I would have liked to write funny stories to distract from the difficult situation we are in, but I cannot. My imagination is still there, but unfortunately it only produces dark stories.
Nevertheless, I have learned a lot this year. I found old friends again, or they found me. After 10 or more years, I was able to pick up where we left off back then. They helped me and I was able to help others in return.
I learned that you can develop incredible strength. Things that you think are insurmountable can be solved. With solidarity and cohesion, you can achieve gigantic things.
It was a difficult year that demanded a lot from me personally. There will not be a funny or touching story for Christmas this year. But a big THANK YOU.
I want to say thank you to everyone. A thank you to all who have not only thought of themselves. To all those who gave up something for others (and not only because otherwise there would have been a fine). To all who shared courage and confidence. To all who gave laughter, even if it was not visible under the mask.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, wherever and however you spend it.
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