Thursday, February 25, 2010

Comfort for the comforter

Last night had the opportunity to watch a short documentary "Home is where you find it." It tells the story of Alcides Soares, young man living in Mozambique in his own words and his own images. This young man is only 16 and has been orphaned by AIDS, his family separated, one brother he has not seen in ten years. The film is a chronicles of his reunion with his brother and the support he gives his sister and the woman who took him in. there is so much that I could talk about based on this movie, the need for compassion, the strength of spirit, how to be thankful and be happy when you can. All of these are important things to understand but the one moment that truly called out to me in the film was a series of three shots.

In the first shot Alcides talks with is sister asking her what she wants. She tells him that she wants to be a family again, to have her little brother back with them and she starts to cry. Like a good brother Alcides puts an arm around her and comforts her saying don't cry don't cry. The second shot is Alcides's 'grandmother' the old woman he lives with, talking about how she would like to find his brother and have him live with them but she does not know how. She too begins to cry and again Alcides is there to comfort. The last shot of the sequence Alcides talks to the camera about how proud he is of his father, and how his father fought for the family. He begins to cry but there is no one there to comfort him.

How does this relate to our personal growth and development? We all have structures of reactions that we use in different situations, a way we react under stress, a way we deal with hardship and loss, a way we deal with joy. When we are constantly under stress we will put on a brave face and deal with what comes at us. This reaction is a lot like Alcides and his family, it comforts others, it tells others to be strong that things will be all right. In this sense the others are the worries and nagging doubts that threaten to disrupt our lives. We need to take time, when things are quite and when this part of ourselves does not have to be on guard to let it relax. This does not mean letting the worries take hold but instead letting the stress out whether in exercise or tears or laughter.

When we hold this stress in it eats away at us. We become cranky we become irritable and we can no longer bear the burdens that are required of us. The key here is making sure we let the stress out willingly, and in a controlled and constructive way.

The African Millennium Foundation is working with AIDs orphans in Mozambique to build a home of their own. If there is anything you can do to help please do, these are good people doing a great thing.


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