Several years ago, Jon Strange sent me a link to an article (a link, unfortunately, now dead). The article transcribed an interview of Eduardo Galeano by David Barsamian, since published in Louder than Bombs. Communications between the Jon and I are rare and deep. I take things he sends my way seriously.
In it there were two phrases that have stuck with me permanently. I hadn't realized how permanently until I unearthed the battered copy of the interview while unpacking. Sitting at my newly located kitchen table this morning I re-read the article.
Estamos muy mal hechos, pero no estamos terminados.
We are very badly made, but we are not finished.
At the time I was deep in sadness, and found hope in the idea that I was not finished with the making of myself, nor were those around me. Hope and forgiveness and compassion in one sentence. Since reading this article I've paid more attention to compassion, to understanding and being loving towards the people around me.
The other phrase, "abrigar esperanzas, to shelter hope" has had an even more direct impact. It has come to define how I think of myself. I am a hope shelterer. It is my job, it is my role in my community, and I take it as my first obligation to friends and family. Eduardo says more about hope.
"Hope needs to be abrigada, protected. She's fragile and a little delicate, but she's alive. I have friends who say 'I'm entirely hopeless, I don't believe in anything.' But you go on living. How is it? I hope I never lose hope, but if that day comes and I'm sure that I have nothing to expect, nothing to believe in, and that the human condition is doomed to stupidity and crime, then I hope I will be honest enough to kill myself. Of course, I know the human condition is at once horrible and marvelous."
It is good to be reminded of these two catalysts for my direction for the past three years. This wasn't a new direction, but focusing points, touchstones for daily action. I'm grateful today the marvelous and horrible human condition, and for having friends who know me so well. Thanks, Jon.