If you have watched the movie, the Kite Runner, you may remember this line. Long after watching the movie I think of the line.
There is a way to be good again.
It is one of those narratives that runs deep in our humanity, told and retold in different media. It is a narrative of second chances and new beginnings, of subverting the ending of the story, of salvaging what was hopeless. It is the negotiations we must make so that an expansive and positive past, present and future can be possible past the point where we have lost our naïveté.
You can find this newness in a new place, a new beginning, a new child, a new lover, a new story, a new thought, a ritual, in getting justice. Suddenly it is possible to right your wrongs and to do better. Suddenly it wasn’t all in vain. Suddenly time is your ally. Suddenly there are enough possibilities and they include you. Suddenly you are inspired and your eyes light up and your heart breathes again.
It is what the cynic fears is impossible. It is what the tired try to warn those who they think are only naive against. But not all childlikeness is naive. Infact most people around the world will never have the luxury of naivete. Even those who do will lose it very soon, judging by the things that happen in our world everyday.
It may be global disappointments that take away your naïveté- policy, politicians, power- but even harder is when it is local and personal – failures, betrayal and losses in work, in relationships, in your self.
I doubt that it is possible to live on this earth for a decent amount of time without these minute places where we lose hope, where we fear that to believe in what can be possible is simply naive.
We fear losing (again), looking like a fool (again), being vulnerable (again), being hurt (again), losing power (again). It keeps us from living fully as we protect ourselves with our trusted defense mechanisms – worry, hate, cynicism etc, which we justify, of course.
But to be a cynic is to always be right. You can simply create a self fulfilling prophecy about how things can go wrong and always be right since you will reinforce it. You don’t have to risk failure and disappointment. You don’t have to risk exercising your heart. You don’t have to risk retracing your steps. Or shame. Or being wrong. Of getting “I told you so”s.
Then there’s the option of being childlike and taking a chance. In so doing you fail and hurt and know success then do the merry go round again. The difference between naïveté and this childlikeness is that you intentionally cultivated it. You fought for it. You nurtured it. It is self aware, calculated and thoughtful. It takes hardwork and intentionality. It weighs reason and feedback and may not always be so sure of itself.
The end may not justify the means. Just because you chose to entertain a possibility doesn’t mean you won’t fall on your face. But then there is always the chance for you to start again with the lessons you have learned. There is always the chance to choose a better ending. There is always the chance to believe that tomorrow will come and that it may be better than what may be the worst day.
This is how you keep living and surviving and thriving. You nurture that spark in you, not because you have never failed but in spite of it, and knowing fully well that many more failures await you. You preserve that place in you, where you, your desires, your shame, your failures, your hopes, your world and the people you share it with can be new again, good again.