Above one of the gates in the ancient city wall is a lantern, and Samil explains its significance to us.
This is the origin of one of the most famous Arabic proverbs: “The light falls only on the stranger”.’
The proverb, he says is very apt for the situation we’re in now. Samil wants to be a writer and is fighting to gain recognition in his own country, whereas I, a Brazilian author, am already known here.
I tell him that we have a similar saying: “No one is a prophet in his own land.’ We always tend to value what comes from afar, never recognizing the beauty around us.
‘Although sometimes,’ I go on, ‘we need to be strangers to ourselves. Then the hidden light in our soul will illuminate what we need to see.’
An abstract from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s novel, Aleph (p42)
Sometimes familiarity may cause us to take what we already have [access to] for granted. Our family who showers us with love, our job, our religious family, our close friends, our spouses and loved ones. They say it breeds contempt. We want that which we don’t have, we want that which others have and suddenly the grass becomes greener on the other side.
Perhaps the pasture may really be greener on the other side of the fence, otherwise we need to re-position ourselves, to be a stranger to ourselves so that we can recognize how blessed we are, to recognize what we have, to recognize the beauty that exists all around us in the form of a loving family, awesome friends, the best spouse [or boyfriend/girlfriend] one could ever ask for, a great job, a [pretty comfortable] roof over our head, blankets to keep us warm on windy nights, a loved one whom we can pour out our woes to, etc. Actually, our lawn isn’t that bad at all.
A note to the future me and the you who will walk beside me: I will cherish you and the days that we have together.
Walk a mile in my shoes and I in yours, and we will realize, actually we are quite blessed after all.