a wandering woman writes

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Reflective this morning

Fast post, as I think through a long list of friends and family dealing with something HARD at the moment. A marriage that's clearly ended, an older woman paralyzed by regret and who knows what else, a mother's stroke, heart surgery, the death of a young foreign student who was at my company's school here in Salamanca for a Spanish course, killed in a road trip car wreck with new "vacation" friends. HARD.

I just got this down to earth, "yeh, we had some terrorist bombings" note from a friend in Jordan who was out, with her children at home in Amman with a babysitter, when she heard about the attacks (a feeling I can't imagine). Her note made me feel better:
Last week was a tough and scary week with the bombings here. My husband and I were out on a "date night", having dinner at a really nice Italian resturant and had just finished our main course when we heard about the bombings. At first we weren't sure if it was true, but when the waiter asked us if we'd like anything else, he very visibly sighed a sign of relief at our "no thanks, just the check please." Then he answered, "good, there were just three bombs in Amman." We had to ask him to repeat what he said. It seemed like it took forever to get our bill and then to pay it as John immediately got on his phone and I paced waiting to sign the bill. We had missed 10 calls on our cell phones, and with circuit busy, we had a tough time getting through to our house and others. The one thing I remember as we walked to our car, waiting for the screaming ambulances to go by so we could cross the road was the smell in the air. I can't really describe it, but knew it was a different smell, sort of sulphurish, gun powder, burning.

The outrage here from the Jordanians has been incredible. Many people are extremely sad, many scared and not willing to go too far from home. But, life does go on. There is a bigger police and security presence everywhere. People are cautious and wary, but the drivers are still agressive, the shops open, the friendliness of the Jordanians still warm and infectious.

It means a lot to know people are out there who care, even some whom I've never met face to face. It is what makes the world still a wonderful place, full of love, peace and hope.

Her email sent November 17th's Erin, who seems to lean toward the philosophical, running to a favorite Rumi poem, so here it is. We'll return to Spain tomorrow.


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.



  • I was sent the Sufi poem over a year ago but the last verse was missing. I wonder why.
    A lot on your plate at the moment, so keep your chin up and good luck!

    By Blogger cream, at 10:50 AM  

  • Oh, I wish I could read that poem as it was written. You know I think that's my favorite part of (finally) conquering a second language - giving myself another (wonderful!) body of poems and stories I can read in their original language.

    Curious about the last verse...hmm..
    And thanks for the encouragement. Truth is, I'm watching other folks deal with that list, just been weird to watch all that hit familiar shores all of a sudden!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 11:29 AM  

  • Wow, this post would make ANYONE reflect...hard! Great poem - it reminds me of The Prophet.

    By Blogger Orin, at 4:35 AM  

  • Thanks Orin, and welcome.
    I am pretty sure I haven't read the Prophet, I may have to pick it up now that you've mentioned it.

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 10:52 PM  

  • Hi, Erin. I've been catching up on your blog this morning. This one caught me as it did others.

    I think I am a 'big picture' sort of a woman, and I am, on many levels. But when things feel a little tough, or the dragons are particularly hairy, it's easy to move in too close to the picture and forget.

    Thanks for the reminder that 'date nites' and 'bombs' and 'pb' can and do exist in the same breath.

    Thanks for showing up here as you do; you add much to my life. Maybe my favorite part is the poetry to which you introduce me.

    I'm thankful for you today.
    (and also for the restaurant chef who is cooking my turkey ;) )

    By Blogger Kate Winner, at 7:38 PM  

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