The title of this piece – ‘We Are All We Need’ came to me the other day when my husband was listening to a podcast that was introducing the new song track with this title by one of his favorite Trance music artists – Above and Beyond. The host of the show, (also a huge Trance DJ) asked them the story behind the coining of the title ‘We Are All We Need’. The reply struck a chord with me. One of the band members response was that this title really expressed the sentiment of the song beautifully – that we all just need each other and we can survive. No countries, religions, castes, races or cultures – just people. As long as people are looking out for each other, we will all be okay, we will all live, love, grow together.
Sadly, the reality of the world and its people today is quite contradictory to the lyrics composed by Above and Beyond. Terrorism, violence, rape, manslaughter, murder of men, women and even children is rampant and increasing. We now live in a world where every second headline in the news makes your heart sink and I, for one, just can’t read on. The question I ask myself is – Will it ever be better? Will we humans ever stop destroying each other in the name of religion, politics, sex, greed or should we now just accept that this is and always will be ‘our’ world? This is the world we are going to be bringing our children into?
I know I am not the only one asking.
The frailty of human nature lets it succumb to vices of such perilous proportions that people turn a blind eye to the tremendous unspeakable and irreparable damage they do or have been trained to do. I wonder what these people are thinking at that very moment after the deed is done – a blast, a murder, a rape – job over, on to the next? Just another day in the office? Surely, these are not human beings. Surely, these creatures who are devoid of any human compassion or emotion are robots or aliens roaming among us.
As much as it makes my blood boil to talk about these ‘villains of life'( perhaps the most frustrating part is that there isn’t much we are able to do to stop them – the hope is that the many national and international anti-terrorist organisations are able to work their magic and curb this maniacal violence and terrorism), I want to share with you something that occurred recently, a chance meeting with a stranger who gave new meaning to the term- Human Compassion.
It was the day we met Mr. Lindermeyer.
My husband fractured his arm recently as a result of an unfortunate slip and fall in the snow which induced the need for a surgery. Having lived in Munich for only the past year without (thankfully) any need for a doctor or hospital, we were fortunate to receive some immediate German guidance from my husband’s workplace (Siemens AG) and we were referred to a huge multispecialty hospital in the heart of the city called the Rechts Der Isar Hospital. The efficiency and friendliness of the doctors and nurses became evident very quickly and after a successful surgery Karna (my husband) was brought back to his hospital room which he shared with two other elderly gentlemen – both German. One of them – our new friend – Mr. Lindermeyer.
Herr Lindermeyer, 87 years of age but with a soul and spirit of a 20 year old very quickly won us over with his friendliness and life stories. He had also had an unfortunate fall in the snow and injured his shoulder quite terribly. He had been in the hospital for over two weeks already and had many more hospital days to go. It looked bad and he was clearly in for the long haul. What was odd though was that I spent every day by Karna’s side and the other gentleman had family visiting him too from time to time but Mr. Lindermeyer never had a single visitor all the three days that we were in the hospital. Curious, I finally asked him about his family. He said he had none and that made it worse. The sadness of this hit me like a rock.
This man of 87, all alone, battling the onset of age and a painful, critical injury, lying in a hospital bed for days all alone while everyone else had loving family and visitors, possessed the one thing that none of us did and that made him bigger and richer than us – his endearing, caring personality and great sense of humour even in the face of this tragic predicament he was in. We listened, fascinated, to his stories that he narrated enthusiastically, evidently happy to have an audience, the lack of which saddened him.
In these three days in a hospital room, I learned so much from this sweet, endearing old man. Even in the unfortunate state he was in, he would take the time to help us out with little things or constantly offer us juice or some fruit from his own meal tray! The most inspiring and valuable lesson Mr. Lindermeyer taught us, unknowingly, was that no matter how hard the times, no matter how alone or helpless you may be, if you stay positive, don’t lose your sense of humour, be nice to others and have a zealous desire for life, then nothing can stop you from sailing through the hard times and get out healthy, happy and ready to have a whole lot of fun again!
‘The one thing I have is my humour. Without that, life is nothing.‘ His words to us.
The Dalai Lama once said, ‘Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity can not survive.‘ While terrorists and murderers are out there creating havoc and doing to one another what can only be described as inhumane and barbaric, I feel some comfort in knowing that all human compassion is not yet lost, that there are still many like Mr. Lindermeyer who are a beacon of hope, inspiration and bravery and testament to the fact that there is still good in the world and hopefully one day we will see the triumph of compassion and brotherhood over blood baths and terrorism.
I dedicate this piece to you, Mr. Lindermeyer, wherever you are. I hope your shoulder recovers well and you go have gallons of beer with that new girlfriend you told us about! May you have the longest life full of love and health and may you never be alone but rather touching and lighting up many other lives like you did ours. God knows, the world needs more like you and every time I listen to this song by Above and Beyond, I will be thinking of you.