Somewhere between Cologne and Hamburg in high speed on the highway A1: I’m driving into my favorite direction (north!) to spend the beginning of my semester break and the christmas days with my family. What I expected to become a dull 4-hour drive turned out as one of my most meaningful encounters of the past weeks, thanks to my fellow passenger who I had joined me through BlaBlaCar.
His name is Hail, born 1992 – just like me.
“I have a whole in my head. And on my belly and my leg as well.” and points at the right side of his body. “Bombs… Syria….” he says.
I’ll never be able to imagine what he and so many others have been through. How can he sit here with such calmness? How does he manage to not lose his faith into this world after all that? And how does he even manage to spread such good vibes after facing absolutely cruel situations?
I do admire these guys. So, so much.
“I give you a lecture now!” and takes his bag from the back seat to get out paper to write on.
It is in encounters like these that it feels as if the world comes a bit closer and more tangible for me. I’ve come to prefer to listen to what another human being right next to me shares about his own experience with the mess out there because I can trust that these experiences have simply been real for that person. It’s this kind of trust that I lack when I see or hear anonymous media reports where I so often don’t know whether I can trust if the stories that are shared about “what is out there” are true or distorted pictures from what is actually going on.
I don’t really know why but I get the feeling to live a little less in the bubble of privilege that I was born into which often makes me feel guilty when I see how other people in other places are hit intensively by the cruel forces of this world.
“Kifk, Lena?” he asks me in Arabic after some minutes of mutual silence. “Tamam” I say and smile after I managed to briefly peek at the piece of paper he wrote for me and found the word I was looking for. “…but I’m also about to get tired.” I add in German
“I could drive.” he offers friendly.
“Take care!” he says once we’ve arrived. And points out that I should drive carefully. Thank you, Hail.
It’s those situations and encounters that make me not only believe in but also see this basic goodness in humanity again. This is something that’s often hard to recognize when something like “Totally fucked up” is all that comes to my mind when I look at what’s happening in this world, which seems too complex and too complicated, and I’m probably making it easy for myself but I usually give up before I’ve even started trying to understand these conflicts.
To me, today showed once again: Meaningfulness matters more than happiness.