Shadow of the Luna
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About strength and courage
'I will to be a Viking,' she swore to herself that night. It was the most important of a series of oaths she had made that night, the only oaths she still tries to respect and apply to this day. One may ask: why a Viking? To that particular little girl, a Viking meant courage, person who could never be destroyed by anything. They were the symbol of pure strength, and her childhood heroes. She dreamt of strength, yet she knew even at that young age that there was no resemblance between the real Vikings and anything she could achieve, so she decided for her oath to be only in spirit: she will be a Viking, but in spirit.
'I must not cry, no matter what, and if I do, it must never be in front of anyone else,' she thought, reasoning that crying is weakness, and weakness is not courage. Though, life taught her a lesson of utmost importance regarding this: the strength of crying is unparalleled, not because it allows for feelings to surface, but because of the very feelings it stirs in the others. She came to learn in time that pity and compassion could easily be used as weapons more deadly than physical strength, a weapon she could not possess.
'I shall try my best to do as much as possible through my own strength, to be as little of a burden to others as possible. Maybe I will end up friendless, but it is the path I desire to take.' It was the oath in which she believed, and still does to this day, only, yet again, life taught her the difference between that world and what she could achieve in reality.


Today, the girl asks herself the question: Was that little girl stronger than her? Would she be disappointed to see her settling with average, crying and relying on friends? Could she explain why she is so now? She still remembers the tears in her eyes that day, the darkness and the warmth of the blanket, yet she fails to remember that inner strength that wowed never to be so weak, and this proves to be haunting to her. 'Would she disapprove?' she asks every moment she smiles in the company of her friends.
Indeed, now she learnt to keep to the spirit of her promises,not to the letter. As a result, now she allows herself to cry whenever she finds a touching story, to release repressed feelings, but never at an event concerning herself, unless it is either a social obligation or there is a purpose to fulfil, such as escaping from a pinch. She also learnt assessing the benefits and the costs rationally and as a consequence she experienced that being first is in almost no case a benefit but an annoyance, misunderstandings and overestimations being easier to occur.
Yet the most important changes she had made to her policy of not relying on others in order not to be a burden. Regarding this, she learnt not only that mutual aid was one of the benefits of a friendship, but also that in some cases might be viewed as a sign of trust from one friend to another. Yet there were always painful reminders of the very reasons she had decided not to trust anyone in the first place. Be them betrayals or jokes, they reminded her that no matter the love she carried for her friends, most could never be trusted. Furthermore, on the same topic the question of her relationship with faith arose.
It was her task of taking the rubbish out, and being the person she is, she only took it out at night, when everyone else noticed its pestilential existence. Since she was afraid of not ringing to the neighbour's doorbell placed strategically right next to the stairway lights, she learnt to go the floor and a half downwards with only the scarce light that entered through the tiny windows placed at every half of the floor. At first she was afraid to go even one step without double-checking whether she was not going to fall. She held strongly to the handrail, placing all trust in it. Even when she had learnt her way up and down the stairs, she would put her hand on the handrail, knowing this way she will be protected. Even when the neighbours used the stairs as a parking place for their bicycles, she would keep her hand on the handrail, swiftly avoiding the obstacles. The only exception was when her luggage was too much fer her to carry it in one hand, and she could only rely on herself for orientation and she was too lazy to carry it in two consecutive deliveries.
Over time, the handrail became a symbol of belief, and her relationship with it. Life is nothing but the journey through the stairs, the more time you spend in it, the easier it is for your eyes to accommodate to the light, and for you to orientate while the rubbish represented the load we must carry through: sometimes heavier,sometimes lighter. The handrail is belief: it's always there for you, no matter what. Sometimes we trust ourselves enough to distance from it. Sometimes we turn to the other side only to hit a wall while some other times we just have too much on our hands. But belief will always be there, strong and heavy, ready to hold us, to guide us, to pinpoint a safe path through life. Sometimes people will put obstacles between us and belief, be it new rules of the Church, be it the impossibility to get there, be it rules we find impossible to agree with. We must return to the origin, to the handrail, or we will be misguided and left alone prematurely. God gives her the strength and courage to go through life as the handrail had given her courage to face her old fear of darkness, and just like she returned to the handrail even when she no longer needed to, she must return to God even when she doesn't need to, to express her gratitude and respect.