The day started well. I was looking forward to leading a workshop for Bosnian volunteer organisation that is supporting Bosnian immigrants. I felt I was going to do a good, meaningful contribution. But only after an hour or so into the workshop I realized this was not going to be just another conflict resolution workshop.
You see, with me in the room were people that have gone through it all during the Bosnian war. Members of their families were killed, their friends were raped, their neighbours were slaughtered, their houses burned down… This was not going to be a workshop in which I would be cracking my jokes and be a star. These were people that faced the aspects of life I know absolutely nothing about.
I have never experienced the horrors of war. Nothing worth mentioning ever happened to me in my life; except of the petty events I like to inflate a bit in order to impress people in my self-promoting attempts. No member of my family was hurt or killed. I know about the world of horror, pain and suffering merely from the TV and newspapers, books and other people’s stories. I take as much of that as I am comfortable with, and the rest I happily deny.
So there I was, a successful, well-off, happy person washing my conscience by giving a pro-bono workshop, feeling good about myself. Oh, what a good person I am, indeed. And I was talking about nonviolence to the members of the most nonviolent minded nation I know. I was talking about the nature of a conflict to people who have gone through much bigger conflict that I am even capable of comprehending. And, frankly, I knew what they have gone through, but I was afraid to ask. I was afraid to mention. I was afraid to hear. I was a chicken and I wanted to play it safe, avoid the painful stuff, pretend it is not there.
Yet, throughout the day I was surrounded with their warmth, love, respect, appreciation, acceptance. I felt totally accepted in this beautiful family, with endless love, patience and understanding. One part of me felt great about this, the other felt small, dirty, unworthy.
I feel like an ignorant, spoiled child that knows nothing about life.
At least I am aware of that. So the day ended well.