I once heard of a young man, strapping and tough, who’d fallen on hard times. His story was told to me by a friend who often visited him at his home in Gros Islet. The man was in his 20s. When he was much younger he’d been shot. With his whole life ahead of him, he’d been rendered a cripple, confined most of the time to his bed. During visits, my friend told me, he and the young man had long talks. Often they would pray together. He had to be helped by family members, even to make it to the bathroom.
One day, some five years after the shooting, he suddenly got up on his own out of his wheelchair and walked shakily to his bed. In that moment he got his freedom back.
My storyteller tried his best to describe the joy in that young man’s eyes, but I formed the impression his words did not quite deliver what he wanted to get across to me. I had to resort to imagination to try to feel how the young man must have felt as he stood on his own feet, having depended for years on the generosity of others for every little thing. His story reminded me that there is always hope, even when we think all is lost. Even when murders, rapes, and almost daily reports of violence threaten to desensitize society; to render most of us unfeeling and yes, handicapped. Even as morals and values continue to plummet, even as bad continues to masquerade as good. If a young man barely out of his teens could find the fortitude, though wheelchair-bound, to keep hope alive, why not a nation? Yes, we are going through especially hard times but we must allow ourselves to believe that this too will pass. That we can decide together to stand up against evil. I truly believe in that moment we too will get our freedom back!