Sol Invictus

EDITORIAL - November 06, 2020

This fall does not look as vibrant and exciting as we all would have liked. The pandemic is still very much our reality. In Italy, some regions are already on the verge of a second lock-down, and, equally, the situation in Europe is changing minute-to-minute. As if to reflect this overall misery, daily life, daily routines, daily joys seem to have taken the escape route as well. Here in Tuscany we’ve experienced one of the rainiest months ever (I know, I know, such an Italian thing to complain about), and even the gyms have been closed, which I personally find to be a real threat to physical and particularly mental health (especially mine…) !

Privately, this annus horribilis reached its peak in the last few weeks with the loss of the people I loved the most in my life. No discussion, this last period has been one of the most challenging and emotionally intense I have experienced in my 33 years of life (bear with me!). To put it in one sentence, “Despair and tribulation are sitting heavily upon us”.

In dire times it is too easy to dwell in the thick of pain and sorrow. During crises, whether these are personal or social, people are vulnerable and afraid. The natural response to it is to increase the inner sense of control. Focusing on as little as we can control is sometimes a way to endure the moments which we cannot. 

The people around me know very well that I see challenging times as an opportunity. A tremendous one. Indeed, one might find beauty in the lack of control. The total absence of something to grab onto is what we fear, but it equally, I must say, carries some vital excitement in itself. Everywhere across social media, inspirational quotes remind us that life begins outside of our comfort, controlled zones. Indeed, how would any of us find new paths, new practices, new lands if we do not lose control? Finally, how does one fall in love if no control is lost?

I was recently told that the toughest metal is hammered out in the flames of the inferno. This is true as much for human beings, (and on a Perio note) as for (anaerobic) bacteria. Moments of hardship make us stronger, more resilient, more capable of facing other adversities. Nevertheless, I believe that what becomes the newly acquired resistance should not only allow for getting more solid or tough. I believe that the main responsibility is to complement this new resistance with the most precious gift we have all received... 

Related to this, allow me to share another personal note. I genuinely consider myself a fortunate man. The reason for it is that I have been surrounded by love all my life; unconditional, generous, strong love. I often wonder how is it even possible to have had so much love around me? And yes, it is indeed the love that I believe we have all received and know, the solid stamina in which we can build the basis of the new life that is yet to come.

When you feel that control has been lost, just focus intently and intensely on the love that you have received and the one that you have given. Focus on the potential of what you could give to the entire human community around yourself.  Focus on the fact that we do love the life that we choose for ourselves. In that moment, whether control is present or not becomes irrelevant.  

It is the base of this love that gives me an incorruptible knowledge: the Sun can be obnubilated, it can be overshadowed, but cannot be defeated. In fact, the Sun is always present. 

Just think of flying, one of the things that I miss the most from the good old times (or is it landing to new places?) After a take-off, even in the middle of a blizzard, mere minutes and a thick stratum of clouds later, a beautiful and glorious sun resurfaces and hits one in all its glory and splendour.  

This is very much the feeling around this issue of the Herald: a pure act of love. Preparing ourselves for the moment in which we will get back to glow — incubating our comeback. Now that the control is lost, we should repeat ourselves daily that there will be again days of “us”, meeting, breathing and kissing. We will appreciate being close, un-distanced, and we will relish humanity. And the Sun will be there, as usual. 

I invite you to enjoy this issue of the Herald. Going through its pages, you may find some of the names in the world of Periodontology. Dr. Martina Stefanini is sharing with you the secret beauty of mucogingival surgery. Dr. Mario Romandini, a brilliant young periodontist who got onboard with the resident crew of the Herald, further tackles periodontal plastic surgery. Laura Bettini digs deeper into the relationship between Perio and systemic inflammation, and our Larisa Music highlights a topic that is very dear to me: the importance of manual dexterity in Perio. Finally, Neshat Zolekhapur and Laurence Adriaens contribute significantly to the importance of  periodontology in women’s life, be they periodontists or patients!

I’ve taken so much pleasure in reading this issue and its contributions that are showing us an everlasting hope for the future, showing us their love for Perio and life. 

Prepare yourself: the life we love will come back. As thick as the cloud can be, there is always a certainty: 

The Sun cannot be defeated.