The Human Chain

Ági lives in a tiny Hungarian village beside an unruly river, the Szamos. She is married to a difficult husband who drinks much of the time. And it didn’t help much that she had recently been laid off from her job as an elementary school teacher. She didn’t have too much hope about her future; in fact, she had tried to end her life three times.

The message of her legend beckoned from long ago, from a bright summer day when she was a teenager. All the young people of the village were out sunbathing and enjoying the beach on the river. But Ági chose a point far from her friends, on a tiny island in the middle of the shallow Szamos. Then, changing her mind, she decided to join the others. But she miscalculated the depth of the water, and she couldn’t swim. The current of the river grabbed her. In her hopelessness, as she was shouting for help, all the people on the shore plunged into the river and immediately formed a human chain that reached out to her and saved her life. As she realized the powerful metaphor of this legendary episode, a new hope manifested in Ági that help will always be within reach. She also realized that just as she was once on the end of that helping chain, in another time she might be one of the links reaching out to help someone else. Now she is preparing for her retirement with greater confidence than she has ever had before. She has signed up for a counseling course so she can help others. On her Facebook page she sends out messages of hope that more and more friends read, possible new members of the human chain.