WE MUST STOP BEING THE CRIPPLES
Fr. Marek Łuczak talks with Jaś Mela about a fight with adversities of the fate, about God who can be a support in illness, about unprecedented journey onto the pole and about the significance of human love
FR. MAREK ŁUCZAK: – I have such a pastoral experience that people afflicted with suffering, usually take on an attitude of revolt towards God. In the context of an accident you said that in the most difficult moments, your family and God were the support….
JASIEK MELA: – In the life of every man various traumatic events cause a kind of a wave of reactions and reflections in the psyche, following one another. This situation concerns nearly each of us. So, nearly each of us has revolt in the beginning – and this is natural. However, there is a question: will we manage to go through all phases, or will we stop at one of them. For some people – and it was so in my situation – difficult experiences are kind of lessons and I try to see valuable things in them. In some losses, the physical or psychical ones, I try to perceive a kind of a gift. I think that whatever God takes away from us, he never leaves us ‘with holes’, but he fills in a gap with something else.
However the problem is that we, as people, are afraid of the unknown, and we prefer something which we know. But it often turns out that this new thing – the unknown is much better than what was before. We realize it when we can look at it from distance. Some people stop at the phase of revolt and make themselves believe that God is unfair. They say that God does not exist and if he does – he is strange and bad. Then painful experiences which they face, are a confirmation of the thesis that God is bad and people are bad, too. However, the same experiences can make us believe that it is the other way round – God is good because I can enjoy His other thousand gifts.
– Can I dare to say that people cannot distinguish between what God’s will is from what is only God’s sign? In your case I am sure that it is not that God wanted you to touch a transformer and experience all these sufferings. Surely, God did not want it, but he surely let it happen because he knew that you would be able to carry this cross throughout your life.
– I do not want to argue about an analysis, whether particular experiences are written or not, but I think that some situation which are to happen were decided by God. For example, if somebody has a more difficult character – in order to bring him to order, it is necessary to experience him more. Other people would satisfy themselves only with lighter experiences. Probably, such a light experience would not have had any influence on me. It would not let me perceive more important things. Hence, I think that the scale of experiences which we face from God, is various. In each of them we can notice something good if we want to and when we can use it in a good way.
– One of good fruits of what happened is what you tell the world about disability and handicap. In interviews with you I noticed a very wise distinguishes of what disability is from what handicap is. Could you explain it more?
– Indeed, it is extremely important to me. My dad taught me to perceive a difference between on what we have influence and on what we do not have influence. Disability for me is something which can be mentioned beside the things which characterize us: where we come from, what our health is like in which we do not have influence. In my case my hand and leg will not grow back. So, you are thinking on what would happen if – if life was different – is a waste of energy. It is impossible to reflect on the past all the time, but we must learn through experiences and go ahead. Whereas disability is for me a symbol of our intentions, things which we can change, our efforts, our work. If we do not feel like doing something, we can always decide that it is, for example, impossible. It deprives us of responsibility.
– It seems to me that we all are a bit disabled – each of us in his own way. For example, I cannot play the violin, somebody else does not have any other talents. So, disability – as you said in one of your interviews – it is a state of the mind, consciousness, as if the man lacked something, but, despite that, we all are very valuable.
– Yes. I observe various people whom I meet because one of the elements in my work is the role of a motivator. So, I observe people – children, the youth, adults – in various towns, sometimes during retreats, at meetings, at schools, in orphanages, in hospices, hospitals, centres for drug-addicts or in prisons. I look at people who are really valuable and often consider themselves as hopeless. I often ask myself the question what is the source of such a situation. Maybe mass media are to be blamed for it. They usually present the world as beautiful and colourful but they do not teach to solve problems and the reality cannot catch up with illusion. For this reason it seems to us that we have many problems in life and people around us are pleased and happy.
– This question must have been asked to you a thousand times but I am doing it again for our readers because not everyone has a good knowledge about it. We can find information about you everywhere, that you are the youngest one who reached two poles during one year and the only disabled one who did it. What significance has this act got for you?
– In 100 per cent today. As I said, we must go ahead in our life and not think about everything in an exaggerated way. Because it is easier to sit down and do nothing, but I try to leave all experiences behind. In my journeys with Marek Kamiński and Wojtek Ostrowski and Wojtek Moskal, on the way to the pole – on our way and before that, during our preparations for the journey, there were some hesitations, reflections: Is it worth or not? However, for me it was an evidence that it is possible to change the meaning of the word ‘impossible’. If we want to achieve a purpose in our life, we must stop deceiving ourselves, stop being the cripples. When one is a sensitive person he is exposed to a lot of attacks. I think that it is worth intensity of life which can be won.
– You said that it has got a symbolic meaning but it seems to me that also the practical one, because you established a foundation and this is a kind of a challenge. The fact that you achieved the poles gives you strength in order to do this work. Could you tell us something about the foundation?
– Surely it is so because every experience is an element of domino puzzle. One could take out one of the blocks and what happened in our life would collapse, something would stop. The sense of existence of the foundation appeared from the fact that I noticed how many needs there are around us. I had an occasion and possibility to meet people, like Marek Kamiński thanks to whose initiative it was easier for me to direct my energy and strength. I saw that there are a lot of needs, both among people who are disabled, who need prosthesis, among the disabled who have prosthesis but they need hope, as well as among those who are completely healthy but are terrible cripples. The foundation is an answer to these needs which we see around us – we decided to establish the foundation which will help with the purchase or funding prosthesis for people after amputation. In Poland it is not easy, the state funds prosthesis only in a small percent. And good prosthesis could make it possible to be active in the social, professional and any kind of life. Those people often fall into a vicious circle like: I do not have prosthesis because I do not have money; I do not have money because I do not have work, I will not find work because I do not have prosthesis. Another element of the work of the foundation is motivation for action, organizing integration trips, various ways of motivating people to bring good energy further and help others to see the sense of life.
– Recently you said on TV that you were on the phase of fascination with another person. You looked – it seemed to me so – as if you had fallen in love and you said that Your purpose was to set up the family. How do you imagine an ideal family?
– It seems to me that I will face this all when a suitable moment comes. I think that an ideal parent is a person – it sounds perversely – who is not ideal. For example , it was easy for me – and it is still easy for me – to find my place in life, knowing how many drawbacks my parents have and they are also very authentic. They taught me to be sincere and talk about difficult issues therefore I am not alone with these issues. We have a lot of people around us, but, in fact we live in such a way as if we were on a desert, on a deserted island. It is something very valuable. I do not have any vision about what the family should be like but, surely, we would like to give a child everything what we have, in order to protect him from all difficult and painful experiences, which we have had in our life. It is extremely difficult to observe a child who makes mistakes when we expect that he will be disappointed soon, but we must give him a possibility to see that we were right. I think that in this way the mutual trustfulness is built.