Personal Story of Social Solidarity and Living Justice
I have learned about social solidarity and living justice through life experience over many years, so I understand just from my own life that a genuinely human community is simply impossible without these basic principles, which after all are ultimately based on the Golden Rule. In my opinion at least, no higher moral and ethical law has ever been propounded in this world, and it is the opposite of a worldview based purely on egotism, materialism and self-interest that is so predominant in this society. Many people do indeed go through their lives concerned only about themselves and their own well-being, never giving the slightest thought to others, but in many ways I have been fortunate in having lived through certain hardships which, even though they were very difficult and frightening at the time, nevertheless taught me the value of a common concern for other persons. One of the worst of these was the car accident that happened to me in which I thought I was going to end up dead or at least severely injured.
Some time ago, I was driving down a two-land highway in a rural area when one of my tires blew out, and before I knew it I had careened off the road, though a couple of fences and into a group of trees. It all happened so fast that all I had time to think about as approached one very large tree head-on was basically “This is it. I’m dead”, and then smash! My car ran right into it and I saw the windshield crack in about a thousand places. If I had not been wearing my seatbelt, I would have been dead, since my car was totaled and a mechanic later told me that he had seen cars that were not as badly damaged as mine in which the drivers had been killed. It just made me think that it wasn’t yet my time to die yet, and that I still had things left to do. Certainly this was what various friends and relatives told me when I described the accident: “It just wasn’t your time to go yet.”
I recall that I was walking around the wreck, somewhat dazed but not badly injured. A lady come out from a farmhouse and asked me inside, where she made me a cup of coffee. Then a police officer showed up and looked me over, taking my pulse, before the ambulance arrived. I got off very easy with just some cuts and bruises, although they x-rayed me from head to foot and examined me thoroughly to see if I had any broken bones or internal injuries. I called a friend to pick me up from the hospital and was able to walk out of there with just a few bandages and a slight limp, but of course my car was completely destroyed beyond repair.
This was also when I really learned the value of friends since I would not have had very much money to make repairs or buy a new vehicle in any case. I was in a kind of financial crisis at this time anyway, but strangely enough I was feeling somewhat euphoric at just being alive at all and being able to say “I am not dead”. That was a big deal, and somehow I just had the sense that things would work out, as they did. Another friend of mine agreed to sell me an older car very cheap, and even though it was no great beauty or luxury auto, it was basic transportation and it got me around just fine. I had to call someone else to ask me to lend me some money, which indicates just how broke I really was at that moment, and he said to me “Just wait for an hour and I’ll come over to your house and give you what you want.”
After about an hour when he did not appear, I tried calling him several times but got no answer. His cell phone was off, and I began to wonder if he was just going to let me down. I wished he had just said that he had no money to lend me instead of making a promise that he could not keep, and it made me somewhat angry and worried. I even said to myself that if I ever saw him again I would tell him off for doing something like this, but at that moment I heard someone knocking on the door very loudly. I quickly went to the door and opened it, and was surprised to see my friend standing there with the money.
“I apologize for the delay”, he said, “but when you asked me for the money I didn’t have the entire amount to give you, so I had to go out and sell my cell phone.”
I think this story speaks for itself, and I knew that after this I would also do the same for others if they were in trouble, at least if it was in my power to do something. This is the best example of friendship and solidarity that I know from my own experience, and it will always be a great example for me.