The above photo is of a rug in my son’s new room. It was handmade by an 85 year old Portuguese woman. He enjoys watching as she pulls tiny different colored skeins of yarn, which are wrapped around small pieces of wood, to work her rugs. These beautiful pieces of art are hung on their walls, cover their floors, and lighter ones even cover windows. As he was describing this to me I found myself wondering if it reminds him of his mum and other women he has watched over the years as they too worked with yarn and fiber in an obvious state of calm.
It seems to me we are living in a time when those “in charge” are trying as hard as they can to separate us. Make us appear different from one another. Trying as hard as they can to guide us in being suspicious of each other and even hate each other. As I read about another child dying while trying to reach the United States I think about this. I wonder, what if we were there with him and his dad, watching while he was sick and dying. Watching what would obviously be an incredibly moving and sad scene unfold. Would we succumb to such suspicion and hate? I seriously doubt it. How could we? We couldn’t.
I have an older brother who helped people in New Orleans affected after Hurricane Katrina. He told me about what he saw, the people he met, the sadness and desperation he witnessed. I could tell it affected his heart deeply. As I listened to him share this story I found myself thinking we should all serve those we understand the least. As I read about and listen to people spew hate towards those coming from places affected by war, gangs, drugs, and other violence we can’t even begin to imagine I think of my brother, serving food in Louisiana so far from his home and family. I also think about “Grandma” as Kyle calls her. The woman who sits by the fire, blanket over her knees, making rugs in one of the smallest and oldest towns in Portugal. She doesn’t speak English and Kyle has to communicate with words and phrases he grabs from iTranslate. He said they manage. They manage to somehow communicate about the yarn, the designs, the weather, and they laugh. Imagine that. Two people from other sides of the pond, not speaking the same language, being of totally different generations and social circumstances, communicating and laughing. “Watch her cook,” I told him. He said he will. As for now he just smells amazing smells as she cooks for her family downstairs. I’m hoping that when I send a quart of our maple syrup over to them she will ask Kyle how to use such a thing as he says it is nowhere to be seen over there. Maybe then she’ll invite him to watch her cook. We all know that’s when real communication and understanding and sharing of cultures deepens.
Now is the time to let down our walls and let those we don’t know, and maybe even fear, into our hearts. We are the ones who will grow from such experiences. So my hope for each of us is that we open our hearts, see the humanness in those different from us, understand their fears and desires. And may that enrich each and every one of us and maybe even make us whole again.
Com muito amor,