We spent the day in the Old City of Tunis, also known as médina. Crowded, and beautiful it was; the colours dance off every surface and I was overwhelmed by the aroma of each food stall, from the bambaluni to the couscous and roasted chicken.
Every person we passed asked if we were looking for the panoramic view. Every one, we politely ignored. We weren’t looking for this, and we weren’t even interested. Because dummies.
Until we stood in front of a beautiful old building, curious about its history and present. Formerly, it taught people how to properly read the Quran. Today, it is a small clinic, and school. We learned this from a gentle shopkeeper who quietly approached to answer the questions we were asking one another.
He offered to walk us to this magical ‘panorama’, and we accepted because he was so kind. It was shining from him, this kindness, and he gave us a little history of the alleyways through which we turned to reach the spot.
For the cynics wondering – he did not want or take money. More than anything, I believe he wanted company, and he wanted to help.
He wasn’t lying. The view of the médina was gorgeous and we spent a little time sat upstairs enjoying the crowd-less cool breeze. Before we left him, we asked he show us the best local food available, and again, he did not dissapoint. We ate incredible grilled sea bass, the tastiest yet, at Dar Essafa (12 rue ennyar). Don’t miss out if in Tunis.
This man, he did not come to us by coincidence. He was simply the right man to guide us, something we both felt instinctively.
Do you believe in coincidences?
I never have, and never will. It goes against my core to believe that anything is random, and without meaning. I use the word ‘meaning’ here very specifically because, if you believe in randomness, then you necessarily believe there is neither plan nor meaning. Literally, shit just happens randomly.
Perhaps I need to believe in meaning and purpose so that I don’t hate this world. Perhaps this is a crutch, and if it is, I am very good with such a crutch. Better than many other crutches, I think.
That written, two of the challenges with this position is that first, we don’t always necessarily see the ‘why’ of things immediately, even though we might be ripping at the seams without the answer. Sometimes, it takes years, and this, this is a real pain in the ass, innit?
Second, the Why is usually only partially answered. Because we experience this world in connection with other(s), we usually only get to receive the answer for our own experience. Sometimes though, oh man, sometimes, we get to sit on the sidelines and watch the Why being answered in the life of another and this, this is where we can see God in the details, because this is when shit gets real. This, from what I have lived and what I have seen others live, it only happens when there has been some serious fuckery.
Let me tell you. I have a chair, and I am ready to start watching.
PS Show me one person who doesn’t need 27 crutches to make it through this place and I’ll show you a liar. Or worse still, a nihilist. Worst people at a party, always and forever.
Today, I’m grateful for:
1. The Peaky Blinders. What a stunning piece of visual storytelling.
2. The clear as day ‘الله’ which showed up in my turned coffee cup.
3. Answers. My parents have said that since an infant, I have always been drawn to riddles, always looking to undo them in an effort to understand them. It’s only natural that WHY?!?!?! unanswered does not generally bode well for me. So always, I am super duper good when God gets down to business and starts a conversation with “And this is why…”
Tunisia | Feb 6, 2019