For Oscar, whose passion is singing and music, it was hard to accept the news that he might become deaf. But with the help of Focolare young people in Bolivia, a new adventure began that helped him overcome his challenges.
In 2014 I went through a difficult time, to the point of thinking about suicide. It all started one morning when I woke up with a strong buzzing in my head. As the days went by, the buzzing became unbearable. Was I going crazy?
One day when I couldn’t stand the noise anymore, and I went to the emergency room. The doctor explained that the buzzing would remain forever – in fact, that I would become deaf. This was very hard for me to take!
I tried to deal with the situation decisively, but, at times, my despair seemed to win out. I asked the Focolare community for help, and I believe it was their prayers that saved me.
One afternoon, I was able to accept this situation and found the strength to move forward. Continuing to fight for my wife Carminia and our six children became a worthy goal.
I began to get used to the buzzing, and as I thought of the forsaken Jesus, I saw myself as similar to him, close to him. Every morning I would greet him with a “Hi, Jesus.” It was a beautiful time. It may sound strange, but it was precisely in that pain that I felt God’s presence closest!
After many medical consultations and medications, my condition stabilized. The buzzing continues, however.
One evening I thought, the time will come when I will no longer be able to sing or play music. It was difficult to accept, but I said another “yes” to God. I did put some conditions on it though: “I accept that I will no longer sing on this earth, but I ask to be part of your choir in heaven.”
We were living in El Alto, in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, at an altitude of 4,150 meters. The doctors advised me to move to a city that wasn’t as high. In 2015, we moved to Cochabamba (2,500 meters).
The local Focolare community welcomed us with open arms. It was an opportunity to get to know the Gen – the young people in the Focolare – better. With them, a musical adventure began that I never imagined.
Despite already having given up my dream of continuing to sing, I found myself amid the energy and life of the Gen, and it became music. One young man suggested that I organize a music group. I was happy, but worried about my hearing, which by then was not working as well as before.
But the energy of Gen, my experience with youth music groups, as well as the instruments we had in our family (four of our children are musicians) convinced me.
One day we got a drum set as a gift, and it was a big party. The young people had a lot of talent. Some sang well, others played instruments with passion, and some were computer and sound geniuses.
So we played at six events organized by the Focolare. How wonderful to see the young people so happy, and the adults catching their liveliness!
God, in the end, did not let himself be outdone in goodness, because I was able to keep singing. I continue to do so.
Óscar Condori, Bolivia