My memories of Riyadh have grown insistent as his body has grown weak. Many an evening, after having cooked, washed dishes, dispensed meds, walked my father to and from the bathroom, and made sure both he and my mother were comfortable for the night, I would ascend to my second story “loft” where I live and write. I would surf the net for photos from the Kingdom, and I’d seek out sites from which I could hear a bit of Arabic.
I’d work on my series of essays called “Vignettes from the Kingdom”, and I’d restrain myself from thinking I could ever study Arabic again, after all this time. Then I discovered www.naturalarabic.com, and I could no longer restrain myself. As the title suggests, the site brought me back to Arabic just as naturally as if I’d never strayed.
I found myself smiling, renewing my spirit for life, daring to hope that my life could absorb the blow of my father’s passing, and that I would recover after awhile. I found myself fully absorbed in the stories, the audio, the learning tools, and ultimately the ability of the human spirit to rally, to cling to shreds of meaning that can later be coaxed into the completion of essential life tasks.
This blog is not really about Arabic, Islam, Saudi Arabia or my experiences there. We already have many blogs and books written by people who are in a better position than me to provide that information. This blog is about tending gardens, nurturing connections, harvesting jewels and setting them into the shape of wholeness.
My Arabic adventure forms a matrix of sorts. By drawing the pearls of my past into the dynamics of the present, I shall craft a future through which the meaning of my life can express itself. I don’t know what that meaning is, exactly, but it’s about loving. It’s about my parents, my children and now grandchildren, my writing, my readers, and offering myself as a conduit through which others can discover what they need to discover, what will bring the meaning of their lives into focus, what will open their own channels, and strengthen them on the journey. It’s about passing the torch.
My father has already passed a mighty torch to me and all the others he has mentored and loved over the eighty-seven years of his earthly life. He has given everything he’s had to give, and is nearly empty of resources even to maintain his own body. For him, myself, my family, and my place in this universe, I must now grasp the torch with both hands, to keep it blazing, and learn how to pass it to whomever is worthy of holding it.