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D. Khorava: The Way to Happiness Is Paved with Good Deeds

I was born in Georgia in the South Caucasus, where a healthy altruism is considered the main human quality. From my childhood I was taught that people who create good deeds are valued much higher by the community than those who pursue only their own egoistic interests.

In my early years, even without the Bible’s guidance, I knew that you should treat other people in the same way as you would like them to treat you. My parents taught us to respect God, and it was in our blood. God was a very important presence in our family; it was reflected both in religious rituals and everyday life. I always knew that we should not throw bread away because bread is God’s flesh; we should always share our bread with beggars and hungry people because otherwise we would reap disaster, etc.

Once, when I was a small child, my mother put me before the mirror and said to me: “Please, smile Dalila!” I smiled and my reflection smiled back to me. “And now, make a grimace,” commanded my mother. I obeyed and that time my grimace was so ugly that I couldn’t recognize myself. My mother said:

the way you treat people will be reflected in their attitude towards you. Always remember: you will be able to solve all your problems only when you turn to God with an open heart. God is truth, love, justice, and faith. Possessing faith, you will certainly overcome all your difficulties.

In my school years, I often reflected upon my future prospects. How can I bring joy to people? My parents taught me that doing good to others is the main focus in life and the way to acquire friends. Thus they prepared me for my adult life when I would be confronted by the reality. It all happened as they predicted. When the war between Georgians and Abkhazians broke out in my fatherland [1992-93], my life position was preordained.

I am a daughter of an Abkhazian mother and a Georgian father. Thus it was natural for me to do good to both Georgians and Abkhazians. I was taking care of the wounded people of both nations and also acting as a peacemaker. A medical doctor should possess special human qualities that transcend political limitations. I am helping people and doing it willingly and proudly. I love people and they love me. I am confronted by numerous difficulties, but thanks to love, faith, and my will power I overcome in most cases.

It is widely known that passing into another world, from one form of life to another, we take with us nothing but our clear consciousness and good repute. Our name will remain in the hearts of people proportionally to the number of our good deeds. The name of a self-centered person will soon be forgotten.

I understand that true love is always loving and giving again and again, forgetting about what it has already given. Only with such love is it possible to build a world of peace.

There is a famous painting by the great Hieronymus Bosch showing a man who is not admitted into the other world because, although he had been endowed with abundant knowledge and capacity for good deeds that he should have shared with other people, he kept everything to himself. As a famous Georgian writer said:

We should help each other to carry our souls because, burdened with sins, they cannot reach the realm of Heaven. Our souls become so soft and transparent thanks to our good deeds and freed from earthly sins and shabby vices; ascending higher and higher like white vapor.

Kindness, love, and self-sacrifice are merits of human character. I will always remember one Abkhazian mother who implored the authorities to take her life in exchange for her only son’s freedom. One Georgian mother (my sister-in-law) died while shielding her son from harm with her body. These are a mother’s actions, the deeds of one who gives her life according to God’s will. Human beings created by God are his beloved children in spite of their disloyalty. Though people often fail to follow God’s will, our Heavenly Father has always been merciful; he gives us opportunity for the redemption of our sins. We should justify his confidence if we don’t want the humankind to perish. In one Georgian song there are the following words: “Things that are destroyed by strife can be restored by love.”

Love can reconcile blood enemies who turned away from the Almighty God, because the one who unsheathed his sword will perish through it. In such a conflict there are no winners; all will be losers. This is well known to those on the opposite banks of the Inguri River [where Georgian, Abkhazian, and Russian troops are stationed]. Still, they are not yet ready to put aside their false pride that God considers a mortal sin. How long will it go on? It is hard to say; most likely it will continue till a new disaster breaks out. Only then will brothers take up water buckets and start extinguishing the fires. There certainly should be some natural laws to support this pattern.

As for me, as the Minister of Health of Abkhazia, I have helped sick people of both sides. I live openheartedly and believe that I am doing good deeds that God welcomes. By this I am guaranteed love and peace not only for myself but also for my children, because good deeds bring happiness and protection to our future generations.

Dr. Dalila Khorava is a former Minister of Health and Social Welfare of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic within the State of Georgia.