His name was Tahar, and he drove me from home to the station with such generosity and joyfulness of spirit. And all the while he taught me how to live.
I asked him if the dark brooding storm-clouds of the economy and of politics worried him at all. And he looked at me with wondrous, wide, shining eyes.
‘Life is so precious,’ he told me, ‘but we forget. We forget that any of us could die any day, at any moment. And that it’s always been that way.’
‘We have to get real about the human condition,’ he said. ‘We’re fooling ourselves if we think it could be otherwise.’
‘And so there isn’t much for us to do’, he continued, ‘apart from taking care of one another, fixing what’s in our power to fix in our own lives and around us, and doing as much good for one another as we can, while we can. And, while doing all of that, to be joyful. Because, before long, and when we least expect it, it will be over.’
Tahar told me about his history of chasing status and possessions, of worrying about what’s beyond his power to influence, and the illness of body and spirit that all of this had brought him. And he told me how he’d realised that this was no way to live. That the choice, in a way, was simple – to live the life we have available and to bring as much goodness as we can to it, or to die in life. And I sat, touched profoundly by his delight and wonder at the world, and illuminated by his capacity to see so deeply into what ails us and what we might do about it.
And for the first time in days I felt truly joyful – at the wonder of my own life, of the stunning coincidence that brings me to the people I love, and at my capacity to contribute no matter what awfulness is in the world.
What a delight to meet someone so deeply committed to blessing others.
Thank you, Tahar.