I am happy at the moment. I am in a country which suits my temperament. It is sometimes illogical, often irrational – frequently exhibiting impractical solidarity to such a heart-warming degree that I cannot but realise how social we as human beings must be allowed to become.
I wrote about a good man a couple of months ago. I didn’t realise how good. His name is Emilio. As I said in that post, he was a good friend of mine. The sort of good man a person in a strange land very rarely is lucky to encounter.
But I was lucky enough to do so.
And I never forgot him.
A few days ago I wrote about how – by massive chance – I stumbled across his trail all over again. My father-in-law’s illnesses took my wife and me to the local hospital – and there I saw a photocopy pinned to a noticeboard which mentioned my above-mentioned friend.
I was so surprised. It seemed so right. To be in a hospital and come across his presence after almost a decade. He was speaking on behalf of the foundation he is president of, and it was as if I had come across a modern Albert Schweitzer.
For that, I feel, in a way, is what he is. A good man who can work wonders within structures that often impose bad ways of working on the rest – and best – of us.
And so it is that I wonder not what gives us a right to pursue happiness but – rather – what prevents us from spreading more of it around. On the Christmas Day Spanish news we got, of course, the atrocities in Nigeria – but also a broad and kind handful of small stories about ordinary people trying to make life for the dispossessed a little less harsh during these holidays than might have been otherwise the case.
To make a better world is in our hands. If only we decide to do so without any thought for recompense or public recognition.
That is the key.
And that is where we must start.