Have you watched closely the hand of a child holding your hand?
A child’s hand in yours is so small, you think you are the universe. Feeling as big as you are, you want to protect her. A child’s hand is a melting thing.
It teaches the numbed adults and the pained ones too, to have compassion for everything. I don’t need light when I think of my own daughter’s hand in mine. Such is the blessing of being loved by children.
But do you get the feeling that sometimes, some abused child, boys even, want to be stolen from where they live? The years of abusing children in Samoa seems to have caught up.
There is no room to excuse our past anymore, because the prison is filled with the distraught of men who were once little boys. Of the painfulness of such an existence, I wonder of the world these men had lived in. I wonder of the mindless abuse, the violent neglect, and the unspent love of their guardians to protect them from falling into the hands of their own predators. For only children who grow up to hate themselves can hurt another thing intentionally, no?
I like to believe, as a child of Samoa that the world is a haven, but it is not. It is full of face saving promises by the leaders of many nations. No, our planet, though warm is a terrible landing spot for any unfortunate species lower than the human being. If you look us up in a history book, our world is largely ruled by square headed people with money and stony feelings.
But I am a lover of solitude.
I think the noise outside is horrendous sometimes. But I also grew up a protected child in a noisy, full of colour, place in Apia. And as any or most Samoan families, my grandfather was the head protectorate.
My siblings, cousins and I, were not allowed to set foot out the house when it was dark. We sat in the house and said our prayers, sung songs, and went to sleep with whispers of prayers too. My grandparents were typically strict guardians, so we were almost always in order from head to toe, and our minds filled with stories of the Bible, families and fun events like long canoe racing and toothless chiefs.
My own parents worked most of the day time as we were creating our own stories in between sucking sweet hibiscus nectar, splashing in the fresh water pools and running alongside the clean streams that still run through the village, known as dead water, “vaipe”.
But there were silvery fish and long black eels. We had no toys but the sticks we used to race under the round cemented bridges gave us joy. We lived in a communal affair kind of way, sheltered, and contented, tough though we may have been as expert climbers of guava trees. Over the years of my small life, many mistakes and good things were made, but my childhood returns to me when I am thinking of what elegant thing to write.
My humble younger days remind me of the gratitude I must wear like a loyal wedding ring. It is a beautiful life when you are simply grateful for what you have.
All those simple days puts a lasting smile on my face. So I understand the old people who leave their homes and want to return to them in the end. I do not blame the fear of displacement when a natural disaster happens or when families are moved from their home to a stranger land.
Whether we are moving homes to prosper or we are refugees of climate change, war or anything more terrible, the feeling of not being home, is a deep emptiness. It is like the lonely sound of a violin being played at someone’s funeral. To be displaced is a hurtful thing, I know.
But this is the very pain the whole world is aching from. Whether you are an abused child, a refugee, or simply a good citizen of some country in turmoil, the pain of belonging somewhere peaceful is on your tired head. I too am often filled with disbelief at the avalanche of troubles we have encountered in our lives since we grew up.
Yet pain is made for growth, as seedlings struggle to form a first bud. But the same colour of brightness in a flower is made from the pain of the stem to reach up to the sun. I hope that when you are dying slowly from the emptiness of this life, you will think of a laughter bursting like splashing waves inside your mind.
I hope that despite your disappointments in the people who do not love themselves and you genuinely, that you have gratitude for the small things including the breeze tickling your neck line.
And if you lack belief as I often do, have a go at courage. Make a life so beautiful that even fear will be scared of facing you and your devout strength. God speed!