All posts tagged: humility

2017 Lessons in humility

The year also brought a whittling of the self, especially a recognition of my limits. Time expands beyond the moment to the far reaches of age where, if I’m lucky, I’ll look back fondly on slow walks down the stairs, on the lines of schoolgirls in long, bright yellow hijabs like flocks of canaries, on the hot stacks of loxoox in the kitchen each morning, on the frigid hop from bed to closet on winter mornings. I think about my aged years as though I’m already there, ruminating over a life well lived or not, observing wrinkled, spotted hands, remembering when they were smoother, tighter, and when I took them for granted. I feel fullness, and a gentle longing, and fullness again.
What matters are the earnest embraces of greetings and farewells, the unique infusion of scents that accompany the people you love, the sparks of energy that scatter with their laughter, the loving gaze of those who know your story and bear witness to the triumphant and crushing steps on your upward spiral. While living overseas amplifies the magic of those moments it also rarefies them, detaching you even when you most need them.

on not knowing

the accumulation of Things I Do Not Know has reached impressive proportions: i do not know the roads here, or the routes, or most destinations. i do not know half of what people say, or how i’m to feel about it, or how to reply. i do not know how to do my job, or whether i’ll be any good, or whether i’ll find it satisfying. i do not know what’s in most of the food i eat, how to cook over a gas tank, or recognize the things for sale at market. i do not know when to engage strangers, or how, or whether i appear as foreigner or fool when I idle in the street. i do not know how to be funny here, or when to smile, and I can’t quite figure out the tortoise who lives in the yard. and yesterday i realized that i Do Not Know how to tie a bathrobe. the string on the outside and the string on the inside and the loops on the seams don’t …