Building on the Georgian Military road: live to save

Journalist Olga Allenova, traveling through the Caucasus mountains, he saw a life that makes sense.


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  • Lenten letter No. 22. Constancy in the good
  • Someone please gift: tangerines for hospice, toys for old people, orphans and strangers – nothing

On the top point of the Georgian Military highway, in the town known as Cross pass, full of silence and invisible in the snow, hiding the little white house. Near it is the stone ruins of the ancient coaching Inn, in the nineteenth century, then changed horses. If not for these dark ruins, the white house would not be visible.

On a hill just above the road, built of stone cross. We go up to him and see the white house. The door opens and in the doorway appears the monk in black. Smiles: “Come for tea”.

It seems that built this house in haste: frame, sheathed with plastic; downstairs large living room-Studio, in which has no fireplace, but only oven-stove – heated a large metal pot. Along a large wooden table laid out carved trim for the icons, joiner’s instrument. The second monk, George, wood sculptor, with a smile pours hot tea in clear glass mugs.

A staircase leads to the second floor, in a small temple: the altar, the icons, the lectern. Upstairs, next to the Church, monastic cells – their 4, as the monks living here. In the temple, writing notes – rather it is a reason to leave here some money and support the owners of the house, because life in the mountains is harsh, but the monk shakes his head: “We do not take money”. Takes the note, puts it in his prayer book, goes down. Somewhere in the corner we find a box for donations, and then stand in a light before dusk painted icons, looking at the burning candles and listen to how the bottom of the crackling wood in the stove.

Why these monks are smiling like kids? How have so much light and joy? We need to go, but it is very difficult to give up tea. The house was built on the pass a couple of years ago on the orders of the Georgian Patriarch on this stretch of road often, avalanches, people are cut off from the world, and until the coming of technology, can freeze. Four monks volunteered to serve. During this time they saved on that road 20.

Over time, the monks want to build here a monastery of Saint Nina. And while this skit, lost in the snow – something like the rescue station. I think this is a symbolic place. A kind of quintessence of the life we should live. Live to help. In order to save. To smile and warm.

Recently my friend, a woman who survived a tough divorce and lost the meaning of life, asked me: “I’ve been thinking – why I live and do nothing for others? Maybe I become a volunteer?” My mother, an elderly person with chronic diseases, many years may lead an active life, working, sitting at home, depressed, but likes to knit, and so began to knit things for the homeless. In life made sense, he says.

The human need to be useful and necessary – one of the basic. That is, everyone can help. And need to help.

Another friend of mine, actress and philanthropist, once talked about why in the world so much pain and misery, and suddenly she uttered a phrase struck me: “And if all this wasn’t, why would we live? How would we live? For yourself? We ate, drank, slept. Like animals? Love is impossible without compassion. And if the meaning of life in love, then, first and foremost, I live for compassion.” This is a lot to think about, although in classical literature talked about this many times.

Recently I was in Poland and studied there the experience of deinstitutionalization in the field of psychiatry. The meaning of the reform is that people with mental illness were institutionalized and not institutionalized there more often, and received in-home services. The important part of the reform relates to social rehabilitation of people with such diseases should have the opportunity to live in a society learn, communicate, work. Professor of psychiatry, with whom I spoke in Warsaw, said “We have not studied why people with a mental illness recover quickly if he has the ability to communicate with other people in society. But it is true. Medicines are powerless if the person is isolated and feels unnecessary.”

I was recently at a party, and Love Arkus, the St. Petersburg documentary filmmaker, opened 5 years ago, a wonderful center for people with autism “Anton near here”, in a dispute about the methods of working with autistic children gave a similar argument. “People need people, she said. And no technique will not be effective if you don’t have direct contact, personal contact with the child or the adult. Only your personal involvement can make the technique effective.”

Man needs man. People should help people. Such a simple sense. Not the state of man, and man to man.

That is, the state undoubtedly has a duty to perform their duties to the citizen, as citizen to the state. This is the essence of the state structure and social contract. But not the essence and the meaning of human life.

Someone will ask: “why does the government not save the travelers on this road of Georgia? Shouldn’t it care about people? Isn’t that his responsibility?” A logical question, and the answer is clear: it should. And when you go another avalanche here, of course, to send machinery. But human life is fragile, and technique goes a long way – like everything connected with state aid. So you settle in the house on the pass – to track down and freezing immediately served them warm tea. And be happy, because I know what to live for.

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