I took a long walk that day. Also, because it did not rain for once. At first, I just wanted to go out with the dogs for a while. Hope was getting restless. She needed exercise, but wanted to stay with her babies at the same time. So, I was with the little ones, while she moved a little. She did not dare to go too far. Even though she seemed to have confidence in me, she wanted to keep an eye on her children as much as possible. Then they went back to the house. I did not want to go back inside. Instead, I went. Nothing else. I put one foot in front of the other, the way walking works. One foot in front of the other. It is a possibility to cover a distance. Many have already forgotten. Or use them only in an emergency and if there is no other way. From the front door to the car, among others. However, I did not have a goal, except that I wanted to feel walking and my body, which did nothing more than to put one foot in front of the other. It did not matter where they went. Just one foot in front of the other, until I stood on a hill and took the time to see the view I had from my elevated position. The land around me, the space and the peace that I felt. Then I walked along the ridge and back to the house. It was good. The possibility. The wide. The feeling of security. The peace. The movement. And yet it was nothing but putting one foot in front of the other.
„You’ve been away for a long time,“ Mary said when I came back.
„Actually?“ I paused, looking out of the window, out into the already emerging twilight, „you’re right. It must have been hours. I did not notice.“
„You missed lunch,“ she admitted, which was really unusual, because otherwise I would never give up eating.
„I have not noticed it. Not how the time passed. Not that I was hungry.“ And then I told her what I had done, which was exaggerated, given that it was just that one foot in front of the other.
„It’s good to follow his inner voice,“ said Mary, as I said that, „It shows you the way. It’s pointing you right. “
„And what if that inner voice tells me to commit a crime, is it still the right directive?“ I asked.
„That depends,“ replied Mary, „I’m sure you’re thinking of something very specific. I’m right?“
„Yes, you’re right,“ I admitted, remembering the incident that I still could not quite grasp and was by no means an isolated case. On the contrary, it happens all over the world. „A friend of mine lived in a small village, in the countryside. She had lived there for many years. She did not really know the place. It was only when she got a dog she was going for a walk with that she explored the place. At one end of the same, not too far away from the apartment buildings, one day she became aware of an elongated building. It looked like a warehouse. On the whole, it was a concrete structure, with a roll-up door on each narrow side and small windows that were so high that you could not see inside. She wondered what was inside. Again, and again she passed it until she met someone who just closed the gate. Determined, she approached the man and asked him straight out what was in the building. He told her there were chickens in the hall and was already gone. At first, my friend was satisfied with this information, but only initially. Then the desire germinated in her that she wanted to see the chickens. That’s why she just went for a walk there. Until she saw the man again and brought her concerns. After he had to make a tour of the hall anyway, he said she could just come along, only the dog must stay outside. So, my friend tied her dog and followed the man into the hall. She did not have the slightest idea what she would expect, but what she saw there made her speech as well as breath. The chickens sat close to each other on the ground. The feet were corroded by the droppings they were standing in. Your own droppings. Many had hardly any feathers left. The man walked in front of her and carried an empty bucket. Initially. When they had finished the tour, the tub was full, full of dead chickens, which he had simply collected, without any emotion, as if they were apples that had fallen from the tree. Nevertheless, my girlfriend kindly thanked, because she was allowed to go and left the inhospitable site. And even if she could escape physically, that’s how she felt, that was not how she succeeded. Again, and again the pictures appeared in front of her. These terrible, heartbreaking pictures. Chickens belonged to the meadow, she told me when we met for coffee and cake, not in a stuffy hall where they vegetate before they are killed. That could not be allowed, she went on, and immediately wanted the world to know that. But how should she do it? I advised her to contact an animal welfare organization and ask the people there. They would know for sure if that was right. A few days later she could tell me, yes, it would be right. The farmer kept meticulously all the rules and the chickens were kept in accordance with the law. We, my girlfriend and I, could hardly believe it. Here, in our beautiful country, it was indeed allowed to lock chickens in a hall, to leave them in their own feces, without natural light, without employment opportunity. That could not be right!“
„You see,“ Mary interjected, „only because something is right does not make it right for a long time. But I think it goes further. “
„Yes, it went further,“ I confirmed. „We decided to document the conditions and clear a few of the chickens. This was only secretly at night. So, we broke in there, took our pictures and took five chickens. Five, which we thought would be the worst. Then we refunded self-report. The evidence was passed on to the media. But what happened then brought me from my pink cloud into reality. First of all, the reaction in the village itself. People were outraged that we did not respect the property and entered it illegally. Then the theft. We were treated like criminals, who we were in their eyes too. The mayor himself came to tell us how important such a business would be. And meant the local taxes. But nobody lost a word about the conditions under which the chickens had to vegetate. That was obviously normal. People around the world are campaigning for those who are locked away, abused, raped and cruelly killed. Billions of our fellow creatures force us to live their short lives under the most miserable circumstances. Not those who allow this to happen are attacked, but those who draw attention. They are being harassed, imprisoned, slandered and abused. Like the creatures they champion. The majority close their eyes. They want to hear nothing, see nothing, know nothing. Sometimes it is said that they are just animals. Only animals. Our property with which we can do what we want. It is always set on those who campaign for the weaker. What a wrong world. It always happens, and even stronger at Christmas. For the roast on the holiday. Has not the meaning of Christmas been completely lost? Then, on Christmas Eve, the family sits around the turkey, who had to die to celebrate the feast of love. But how can one talk about love while death lies on the plate? “
„Only when death is banished from the houses, the heads, the bodies, only then can one really celebrate Christmas,“ Jesus interjected, „everything else is empty talk.“
Life and love as the message of Christmas, as its meaning, can only unfold when this life itself is celebrated. Only then is it credible. And I felt an infinite pain over the lifelessness that prevailed in the houses, about the lovelessness, out of ignorance or just thoughtlessness. It is one thing to find out the meaning of Christmas, but another to implement it. He was always there and should be present on all other days of the year. But how could he, if he could not even be realized on this one day?