Reflections on a Good Day in Mid-February, 2013
A number of people important in my life have commented to me that I need to learn to love myself. I’ve thought about that and written about it in an attempt to figure out just how I feel about that, and about me, and I concluded a while ago that while I can’t ever say I love the person I am at any given time, I don’t dislike him, and sometimes, in perspective I admire him.
Today was a very good day for me for a number of reasons and it was a milestone, and a rite of passage and an enormous relief, and a day that in many ways vindicates the person I’ve been, at least for a while: a man struggling against an uncertain future in an uncertain world, ashamed that I’d been unable to keep the commitments I’d made to myself concerning my sons, although I’d certainly tried, but still, putting one foot in front of the other and much more than just surviving. The past ten years have been very hard in an awful lot of ways, for me and for most everyone else, but they’ve been years that have taught us a great deal about ourselves, about our world, about misplaced trust, and about underestimated courage.
Today I found myself a bit safer, a bit more secure, able to take a deep breath. To again think that some dreams are possible, perhaps even probable, and that none of them need be nightmares. It was a very good day in a number of ways, not the least of which was that I was able to look back at the man I’ve been during the past decade and admire his courage in the face of adversity, to feel gratitude for his sacrifices and determination, and even to feel a good deal of love for him. How not to, he made today possible. He never gave up hope and he never stopped trying.
Today I was able to buy my son Alex, who rarely asks for anything and deserves the world, something he really wanted, something I couldn’t afford yesterday. Today the love I’ve always hoped for seems reasonably possible if not necessarily probable. Today I realized I’ll probably be able to see my old classmates at least one more time, and perhaps, find a moment or two every day to keep writing. And all because a promise my adopted country made to me and to most of us has finally been kept, a promise too many of my fellow citizens seem too eager to break for future generations, a promise the century I was born into made a reality, at least for a while.
In my life I’ve had a few extremely exhilarating instants: when my sons were born, when I first passed a bar exam, when man first orbited the moon, when he landed there and when Apollo XIII concluded in one of man’s greatest adventures, proving his innate worth against a hostile universe. They fade all too quickly but provide the motivation that keeps me striving for a long time, a motivation renewed every time I see the best and bravest young souls I know marching in Friday evening retreat parades along the shores of the Ashley River in Charleston, the Holy City.
I don’t know for sure what tomorrow will bring but today, well, it has been just great.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2013; all rights reserved