As always before I begin writing I leaf through my notebook just to get started. Sometimes I come across quotes that I think would be appropriate for the ideas I have at that moment. Other times I come across some paragraphs and thoughts that I have jotted down. This morning I came across the following words.
World. Cruel. Mad. Death. So terrifyingly finite. Not fair. A silence so loud that it’s driving me crazy. Pure Madness.
Words that I put down in my notebook. Did I write them in a moment of madness? Or:
“Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness?” Elie Wiesel
Two nights ago my mom arrived from Beirut to stay with me for a while. I hadn’t seen her since November of 2011 after my dad passed away. And now she has come to be with me after my husband passed away. Our roles have sort of been reversed. As I look at my words, my mom’s fragile figure here to comfort me, I cannot but quote Elie Wiesel:
“Life belongs to man, but the meaning of life is beyond him.”
What is the meaning of all of this? Of all the suffering that people go through. Of all the pain inflicted on us by circumstances that are out of our control, when all we expect throughout our life is to live and make our dreams come true. We study, we work, we love, we dream and above all we try to be in control of at least our own lives. And when tragedy comes knocking at our door, we are hit so hard. It’s as if to remind us that none of us is in control. That there is a greater power- fate, destiny, God, whatever name we call it- that we cannot just ignore. And that these tragedies are lessons we should learn from. As I sit and listen to my mom’s stories I remember Elie Wiesel’s words:
“I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”
Hope. I add the word to my list of words. Something my mother and her stories give me. Hope, courage and love. I have to learn to have courage again, the courage to live and face life as it comes. At a time when I thought I had lost all interest in life, I have to learn to live day by day and take one step at a time.
Elie Wiesel writes:
“There is divine beauty in learning… To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.”