IT IS WORTH BEING GOOD
Milena Kindziuk talks with Krzysztof Ziemiec, a journalist of Polish Television TVP
MILENA KINDZIUK: – Are you good?
KRZYSZTOF ZIEMIEC: – I try to be so every day. Both at home, and at work, and in the street. I manage to be good! All this depends on us.
– It means, ‘it is worth being good’, if your latest book is entitled so…
– Undoubtedly! Not only is it worth, but necessary. This is a measure of our humankind. Besides the good returns to us and with a double force. It also works in both directions: giving oneself to others, we build ourselves.
– What made you describe people who do the good to others?
– We often hear that around us there is so much evil. Because it exists. But there is also a lot of the good. There are many people who do not give in and despite everything and everybody, are simply good. And these are often young people about whom elderly people do not usually have a good opinion. It is not right! Besides, the evil is shouting and, therefore, it seems to be everywhere, while the good is quiet and humble – therefore, it was necessary to write a book about it.
– And what were you impressed by, for example, in the attitude of Fr. Jacek Stryczek described in the book? Can the fact that he had given away bread with dust at a stall with kebab, be attractive for the contemporary reader?
– I was impressed by everything! The fact that he is a positively crazy priest. A man who made his logo out of ‘doing good’, bringing help to people in need. What is more, he got to the awareness of all Poles. He became an ecclesiastical answer to the charity action of the Great Aid Christmas Orchestra. He showed how to help for the whole year!
– Why does the book include the person of Anna Dymna?
– This is a woman-angel, who admits that helping others is necessary also for her. She does it discreetly, without making it public, but how effectively.
– Writing about her, you emphasize that ‘suffering allows us to be closer to Christ’. This motif returns many times, not only in this book. You understand suffering unlike anybody else, don’t you? Did it bring you closer to Christ?
– Being good is a quintessence of His actions. This is also a sense of Gospel. I started understanding it long time ago.
– Your accident allowed you to understand that nothing is given once forever and that everything in life serves to something – as you wrote in your previous book beautifully…
– In my case I would call it a life experience. Dramatic moments help us realize the fact why we are here what purpose of our life is…And that it is worth living everyday properly and in a right way.
– When you received somehow a present of another life from the fate, do you experience Christmas in a different way? What does it mean to you that God took on the human body; that He was cold and had nothing to eat and that he became our brother?
– I usually spend Christmas at work to much extent. This is my job and my vocation. But, I try to look at this all differently. I try to look for what is essential, and reject what tempts and is completely unnecessary, and even harmful for believers. The Child’s Birth gives hope, but soon after that, the day of the first martyr tells us to experience joy more deeply. This is a part of our Christian cross which we are carrying.
– Do you feel this brotherhood of Jesus? Who is He for you?
– Brotherhood? I do not dare to think so. Surely, I feel God’s care every day. But I am afraid to abuse trustfulness.
– Once Ernest Bryll said that ‘it is a very rare case that we have Christmas Eves which are authentic from the beginning to the end’. When do you find a Christmas Eve authentic?
– I make effort so that every Christmas Eve would be authentic. Ernest Bryll, as a person slightly older than me and as a poet, has difference experiences. Surely, he meant, among the others, Christmas Eves of the 80s of the XX century, that is, such difficult moments in the life of the nation, which would not allow people to be happy. In my opinion, a Christmas Eve is authentic when there is not only a rush in a kitchen, and then Christmas Eve supper, but when we create something like home mystery. When we are together in harmony and unity – also with those who are not with us, because they passed away forever….
– It often happens that at Christmas You present news on TVP. It is sad then?
– No. It is an honour for me to be a guest at Polish homes on such days! My family – my wife and children – are understanding and after work there is a bit of time to sit at the table together.
I will never forget a Christmas Eve in the year 2009, when I returned to work after an accident and said hello to viewers with tears in my eyes. I know that many viewers wanted to see it, although they do not watch TV on this day….
– So, is journalism your mission?
– Yes, it is. This is something more than work.
– Therefore, in your programs, You try to touch on issues of religion and faith, as well? You do not mind voice of criticism which You face, like it was after an interview with a charismatic from Uganda, Fr. John Bashobora?
– But what are the spiteful comments in comparison with real martyrdom? It was painful because it was absolutely unfair, but it did not change my belief that it is worth making such programs. Criticism can also make us stronger! But… we have an easier life in comparison with other Christians, for example, in Syria or Iraq.
– I also remember your interview with Anna German’s husband. Later you referred to his memories that the singer had recorded psalm on a tape-recorder at home before she died and said that if she had recovered, she would have sung only for God…
– Yes, it was an extremely important interview, an unusual meeting. Even today I remember our common tears, mine and Mr. Zbyszek’s during the interview.
– Do you sing carols at Christmas Eve?
– Yes, I try to. Unfortunately, I cannot play any instrument. Instead, my children play the piano, so we sing together.
– What is your favourite carol?
– ‘Silent night’ and ‘There is no place for you, Jesus’, because they are slightly sad.
– What present under a Christmas tree would make you happy the most?
– The one which cannot be bought, but can be gained when we live in a good way every day. Readers know what I mean.
– Does Christmas remind us that it is worth being good?
– It absolutely does! And especially the time preceding Christmas. We and our children sent many gifts to those who are in need and we did many good deeds for others. So that everybody could be happy about the arrival of Jesus Christ!