Sources of Joy – scattered over days 44-49
These six days have been interspersed with the varied joys of public transport, public bureaucracy of the efficient kind, no transport except my two feet on several occasions, unexpected giving up the ghost of my own vehicular transport after its recent visit to the mechanic’s, and the sheer delight of friends who have offered to transport me here and there to sort out my own transport woes. You could say that I have been transported by joy.
In between these various modes of transport, I have discovered that the human eye can see a reflection in a window – of a person taking a selfie, for example – while a camera cannot. It makes me wonder how much of human perception is voluntary. We, as people, want to see our reflection in a shop window, whereas a camera has no such volition and merely captures what is there. It is ironic that in these days of so much photographic portrayal of self that it is the camera which determines whether in fact one exists or not.
I spent two hours on Friday morning in a meeting with three people at the care facility where João is staying for 30 days while I, the exhausted carer, get some much needed rest and the opportunity to catch up on ironing, myself, and a seemingly inordinate amount of sleep.
If recounting the story of another’s life so closely intertwined with one’s own is in itself a false construct however honest one’s intentions, this account was at one further remove, for it took place in a language that is not my mother tongue and those listening to the various stories were so far removed from the culture in which the events recounted occurred as to make any true communication tenuous at best. The human condition, however, is a source of joy, because this is something we all share. I adjudged myself to be fairly fluent on that day, and those listening quite responsive, and very competent in their fields. I can only hope that an accurate message has been conveyed, and leave the rest in their – and God’s hands. Trust is a strange bird, but flies true.
On the weekend I got to translate a delightful story for children, have my hair cut as a matter of urgency all of a sudden, attend a barbecue, and walk on the beach barefoot, get my shorts wet in the wavelets, laugh out loud at how white my legs looked in comparison to my brown arms, and reunite after my weekend away with a few friends in the village.
My life is incomplete without its digital dimension. This week’s Skype activity has included a rough total of three hours of conversations with a couple of friends who sometimes feel as if they are far too wonderful as beings, too precious in spirit, for one such as I to deserve. I am feeling unsure and weak at the moment. They lift me up far enough for me to at least keep reaching for the stars – most of the time, anyway.