A letter to a friend 3

2014-05-06 18.41.15

Dear friend,

Here I am, once again, sharing with you my most recent adventures!
As you might have noticed, I’ve been absent these past few days. I’ve been discovering a new place outside and inside of me.

I found myself sitting on a park bench, today, seemingly lost.
After all, wandering around a city you don’t actually know, alone, it’s quite frightening. At least for me, it is! There’s this immediate sense of smallness when I look around me, of not knowing which way to go and of not being able to fully explore everything you desire. Quite contradictory, aren’t I?
Lately, I feel my mind has been filled with so very different thoughts and smells and colors! They keep reminding me of how little of the world I know yet. And of how much more I want to discover still.

I have the impression I’ve been lucky, so far!
Contrary to what most people warned me about, I’ve met quite a lot of nice people: each bump in a crowded place has been met with a sincere, looked in the eye, apology and a smile; bus drivers who let me ride the bus for free, because I had just arrived in their country and I really didn’t have any change (yes, it happened more than once, my dear!); even the little squirrels – every tourists attraction – seem to give me their welcome, while they run away from the people who try to feed them, climbing up my leg although I had no food to offer. I must not forget the typical “Can I just say you look beautiful?” approach on the street, that always ended with a “It was nice meeting you. Hope you have a lovely day!” smile (more than once, as well!). Those were the sort of things that kept me smiling and warm, despite the wind blowing so strong sometimes.

I know I left your side feeling a bit disappointed with myself, I really don’t know why…maybe because every time I think about what I want in life, everything seems so far away in time. Borrowing an example shown to me, while I’ve been away, imagine life as the act of taking a photograph: in the time and society we live in, the process is quite fast – you grab your phone, you take a picture, you edit it (or not) and you post it for everybody to see, and like and comment – it’s a matter of minutes, seconds even. Now let’s go back a few years in time: imagine you have a little roll of film, you put it in your camera, you take your pictures until the roll’s finished and when it is you send it to someone to develop it. Still the process isn’t finished. The developer goes into a very dark room, with your little roll of film, and one by one, he’ll make your pictures start to show, always careful that no light enters the room and damages his work, your memories. One week would pass and you would come and get them (and pray that your shaky hands wouldn’t have ruined the whole film). That’s how long it took for you to be able to share it with your friends, your family, those most close to you. That’s how much you cared about the result and how much you were willing to wait.
I feel I’ve been in “the dark room” these past few years, and I really long to come out. But what if I’m not ready yet? What if I’m meant to get stronger and win each little battle that has crossed my path, so I can grow better than I’ve ever thought I’d be?
Instead of fear, all this things I’ve learned have awakened in me a longing to do better, be greater, to know more and not settle for less, as I so often did before.
I’ve found a peace of mind and heart I never imagined possible…not here, where the ghosts of my failures are so near.
And although it’s certain I will eventually have to depart, I know I will leave a little piece of me behind. A very important one.
But that’s what life is all about, isn’t it, my dearest friend? A big book with chapters that need closing, so the story can continue.

I now take the time to be grateful for what my life and my choices have thrown my way.
Because, besides all the heartbreaks and disillusions, I have been given hope and patience, and joy and love.

Hoping to hear from you soon, my friend,
A.J.

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