Sunday, October 11, 2009

Acts of kindness

Sunday, October 11
Amman

As the scale and scope of the barbarity of life on the ground in Iraq, and the desperation for so many of life on the ground in the countries to which people leaving that Hell have fled continues to unfold, case by case, story by story, life by life, there is something underneath it which feels like the first light in a black sky. It's the light borne of kindness. As we ask the question of "what next" for these people, for their forsaken country, the ability of simple acts to transform is hard to capture in words. Perhaps it is nothing more than the belief, the hope, from people who have lost everything on so many levels that someone, somewhere cares. The steady gaze into someone's eyes. The handshake which takes on so much more significance than a greeting. The interest in a life. The smile truly meant to a child who has seen more in 10 years than I have in a lifetime. Simple acts.

I have no prescription of the survival of 2 million people. No enduring wisdom to lead a country out of an inferno. But across the barriers of language and culture the idea that someone actually cares is an astonishing medicine. We are not meant to be alone. We have evolved as a species in community, and in community is safety and in safety is possibility and in possibility hope. As a dancer, as a choreographer, the tale I tell must live without language. So it is here. We make it more complicated because we want the details of a life. But before the detail is trust, and trust is in the eye, in the heart, in the hand given freely and the embrace. We are capable of understanding the truth, but day by day, story by story, I am reminded that we feel truth. It is not empirical in the human condition. It is emotional. And as deeply as we treasure intellectual gifts and clinical accomplishment, in this place the destruction of safety and the debilitation of our humanity heals, in part, by touch, by contact and care.

The stories that accompany that thought have so much tragedy in them that they are for another moment. In this one at least there is hope. Hope that, in caring, we carve a path through the rock built, layer by layer, of one act of barbarity after another.

1 comment:

Saeed Omar said...

very humane thoughts! i'd love to see your show in Amman.