I´ve been in Spain for almost a week now, I´ll be heading back home soon. Though I’m not as gregarious as most here, I´ve made a point of spending most of my time walking around this Andalusian city, becoming acquainted with streets, developing by habit my own routes. The architecture is markedly beautiful. By wandering off a busy boulevard down any given side street, one quickly encounters the moorish patterns that embody Andalusian history. It was down one of these side streets I met a venerable native, Lola.
My eyes caught her from a distance as I walked down through this narrow side street among a steady trickle of people. Perched in the shade on a narrowly enclosed porch step, I could not have been more than 3 feet away from her, a second later and I would have passed by her, but I didn’t, something awakened in me, for she didn’t prompt me for money, she held a little round tin yet she didn’t stretch it out.
I sat down beside her and we started a conversation which for me was extraordinary, one in which notions of time are lost in the age old gift of dialogue. Lola spoke humbly of herself, her being homeless, the hardships of life hadn’t in any way embittered her or weakened her spirit. She trusted in something greater, ‘creo en dios’ she would tell me, whatever she had endured, be it the cataracts in her left eye or the daily grapples with hunger had made her ultimately stronger.
The more we talked, the more my admiration for her grew. I realised suddenly in getting to know lola what a colourful person she was, that she was a living testament to human strength, she was as unique a human as anyone else in this city, in this world, with a life of unique experience and wisdom. It was with a sense of regret that I realised how easy it is to pass judgement on the vulnerable and marginalised in society, people are swift in their judgements of what they see on the surface often never stopping to question, to open their minds and hearts, to actually communicate with those who invariably take on a sceptre like existence, perhaps becoming themselves as dangerously unconvinced of their integrity as we are.