Friendship – at what price does it come? I used to have a few friends in the past, now I have none. At least none that responds to my definition of friendship. A friend is someone who rings at the door even at the middle of the night because he knows he will always be welcome. Because he knows there will always be a glass of wine waiting for him along with a good laugh or a deeply philosophical discussion. A friend is someone who you don’t have to run after to see or hear a lifesign. A friend is someone to whom you can confide and who will nevertheless always respect your silence. Outside the very tight circle of my family – wife, kid, cat – there’s nobody like that.
At times I despair over mankind. Its inability to learn from past errors, the rampant lack of respect and dignity in politics, the belligerent tones against minorities set by some politicians and media – all this seems to me fundamentally opposed to the values we officially profess and detrimental to a harmonic society. And there’s little I can do against it. I feel rather helpless and often I turn to the blue sky for consolation. Looking up invariably makes me realize how insignificant mankind is against the backdrop of the infinity of space. How ridiculuous our small and large daily battles are. If there is a God, he must either be horrified by our behaviour or laughing out loud over our pompousness.
Early morning in our garden. The heat and the lack of rain took its toll: What should be green and lush is of a fading green turning to yellow and brown. The morning hours are cool, the early breeze is a welcome contrast to the oppressive heat of the day. Every morning – I write this on one of the first days of August – I look at the sky and utter a very short prayer: Rain, please. The absence of rain has never hit me as hard as this year. I have to confront a problem I associated with the Sahel zone, not with Luxembourg. West winds should bring us rain showers from the Atlantic in July and August. These two months used to be the most abundant in rain. Not any more.
Is it possible to make Man confront his many sins, to make him repent and to improve his behaviour? I have my doubts, and maybe it is a sign of our time that the divine element has less and less place in our lives and can no longer serve as a moral beacon for many. Dieterich Buxtehude, a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, however was a firm believer in the Lutheran god and expected the fear of Judgment Day being stimulating enough to encourage the citizen of Lübeck to repent and return to the right path. “Das Jüngste Gericht” (Judgement Day, BuxWV Anh. 3) is the title of an oratorio Buxtehude most likely composed for his Abendmusiken, the amateur concerts he conducted in Lübeck.