Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Absence of Disruption

Today I went to Juanita and Candace’s home in Santiago to learn embroidery. It was a perfectly lovely experience, marked by very little “noise.”

We don’t speak the same language [Candace knows some Spanish, but for the most part they both speak the local dialect], so we were sitting there in silence as I worked, and they watched me, and instructed me with their fingers. There was no music playing. There was nothing on the gray walls, except a hand-made sign that said “Happy Birthday Dad” in Spanish. There was no television. No pets. The only bit of print media in the room was the magazines that I brought for Candace. Even when their brother Santiago quietly came into the room, he stayed awhile, watching me tentatively as I worked.

The absence of disruption exposed quickly the sheer difficulty of what I was doing, and the discomfort and confusion I was feeling about learning something new from people that I couldn’t speak to. It also allowed me to fully be present and appreciate that after 6 hours I not only had a little birdie sitting in my lap, but I had also developed a special bond with these women without sharing words.

And in such synchronicity, I happened to read this right after my experience:
“Everything is usually so masked or perfumed or disguised in the world, and it’s so touching when you get to see something real and human.” P 215, Traveling Mercies, Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott

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