Essential links

They dance, grandmother and granddaughter one imagines, in an American stadium where an event takes place of which we do not know the content. The same color code, pink and black, for the lady (just a little wrapped up, as Obelix says when speaking of her own overweight) in sporty outfit, as for the graceful child who wears one of these dresses whose little girls like to dress up because they twirl when they spin. The arms spread wide to give themselves momentum, they are applied, concentrated: dancing is serious business and it does not matter who is looking at them. They are together, they share the same pleasure and that is what counts.

Because many of us have been deprived of it, the pandemic months remind us that ties are a basic need, a basic good. Family ties, first of all. They may have been damaged by the obligation to remain confined in cramped and overcrowded housing, when it was necessary to combine the parent’s teleworking with the child’s school activities, when economic or health concerns invaded families, when proximity all the time has exacerbated the tensions in the couples. But these relationships have also been able to reinvent themselves in the face of the constraints of the curfew, outings limited in distance and time: shared meals, board games, puzzles, simple walks or bike rides have succeeded – even if a little – in compete with screens.

Because of the separation from the oldest, whom we wanted to protect from possible contamination, relationships were organized thanks to digital communication tools: such a grandmother made her reading work, remotely, from a distance. a CP student; such a grandfather proposed that a story be read every evening at bedtime; such parents have regularly “lunched” at a distance, exchanging by telephone, with their young student isolated in his apartment; such parish community put forward a thread of spiritual proposals when it was not possible to meet to celebrate the Eucharist. Not to mention the aperitifs with friends organized by videoconference …

The preciousness of these links, of these meetings, of these exchanges should not be extinguished when we are caught up in the whirlwind of life, “activities”, overloaded schedules. Like the unanimously expressed need for the great outdoors, for nature, this “taste for others” should not abandon us. Nor the memory of the great loneliness experienced during this year and that no creativity has succeeded in relieving.

In this area, everything depends on us, on each of us. The solutions will not come from the government, nor from Europe, nor from scientists, nor from pharmaceutical companies, nor from the WHO, but from our own capacity to cultivate these links sustainably, to take care of those around us, of what surrounds us. If the sentence has already been quoted in this column, forgive me; it is extremely topical. On the wall of small papers pinned at the end of the November 2019 Bishops’ Conference to which lay people responsible for ecological issues were invited, these words in the form of a slogan were imposed: “Less goods, more links” !


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