Just a minute: Underdogs

I’ve always been on the side of the underdogs in life. People with a handicap, poor, timid, sick and frail people—it gives me physical and mental pain to observe the unfairness in their situations. I know this world is unfair, but emotionally I have never been able to accept it. This feeling has nothing to do with being saintly, because I’m not in that category, not by a long-shot, but I guess some of the explanation may lie in my childhood. I was, as a boy, extremely shy and introverted. It felt like I was living in a bubble. I remember having trouble talking to people, or being placed in the center of a situation. In such a moment, my self-esteem seemed to be in an absolute zero. Maybe, just maybe, it served some good purpose later in life but certainly at the time, it robbed me of a lot of joys in life. I am sure there are others who can identify with the feeling. Now I am out of the “bubble,” but I have not been able to build any shelter of defense around my emotions, and that makes it tough to live in a world full of “underdogs.”

Consider this situation: as I was walking home on a bitterly cold winter day a kitten came running up to me shivering in the cold, trying to gather a little warmth by rubbing himself against my leg while his eyes prayed for mercy… I picked him up, put him inside my coat and carried him home while I prayed, “Oh Lord, why me? You know I can’t have a house full of cats!” See what I mean? That’s the price you have to pay for being on the side of “underdogs” and “undercats” and more so when it comes to people.

Seriously—this world is so full of misery and pain, and there is so little one can do about it. That’s my dilemma, it may also be yours. But let us do what little we can. Let’s have a heart.

This article is a part of a series of encouraging columns by the late Pastor Per W. Larsen, written for Norway Times and now shared with the readers of the Norwegian American Weekly.

This article was republished in the Feb. 27, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.