“How did it get so late so soon?” Dr. Seuss
At some point in our lives we have all had a rough time. Some more than others. I grew up listening to my parents’ and grandparents’ stories. Their stories were not like anyone else’s stories of happiness and childhood dreams.
It’s true that I was born and raised in Lebanon. But my grandparents came to Lebanon as refugees. Together with all the residents of Musa Dagh, now belonging to Turkey, they were forced to leave everything behind. With the help of the French they landed in this place called Ainjar where in the beginning tents were set up for them. None of them knew or spoke the language (Arabic) of the new country. My dad was ten years old and my mom was almost eight.
So I grew up listening to my grandmother and grandfather telling me stories of their homeland, of what they had there, of what they had to leave and what they had to go through during those first years in Lebanon in order to survive. I listened to their stories of loss and survival and it seemed to me that even after they settled down in this new country they were still living in another time and another place.
Later on when I became a teenager the civil war started in Lebanon. In the beginning no one knew what was happening or how long it would last. But when it dragged on and on and with time it became impossible to go on living in those horrible conditions, I got married and moved to Dubai with my husband. I used to long for the friends and family I lost and the people and the things I left behind. Even though I was living in a better place and in better conditions, I was angry and sad and I wished that it never happened. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I lived in Dubai, I had a family, a job, and a home to come to. But I had no connection with the place. It was as if I was in the transit lounge of an airport, waiting for the next plane out. And when finally I found my home, I lost my significant other. So all these times, all these years, I was busy working and preparing for a future and never anticipating, not even once, that there could be no such thing as a future. Rose Kennedy wrote:
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
Time does not heal any wounds. On the contrary it creates more wounds so in your dealing with your new pain you sort of put the old ones aside for a while, and there comes a time in your life when:
“The world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” Sarah Dessen