Monday, November 15, 2004

ATTN: Bart

I would like to share yesterday's experience I had with Bart.

Bart is the youngest son of my sister. He is about 20 years of age. When he was born, something happened to him. Shortage of oxygen, something like that. Anyway, there is a deep bond between the two of us. My sister thinks that our characters are much the same, and so do I. This bond is what I wanted to talk about, for i feel that it has something to do with attention, the subject of this thread.

Yesterday I met Bart. He's always glad to see me and so am I. Everytime we meet, he will tell me his latest experience over and over again. I sat next to him. Our conversation went like this

Hey Ronald
-- Bart has a big smile on his face
Yeah what's up?
-- I look at him. There's something big he wants to share with me. I bend forward, don't wanna miss a thing.
I was at a party earlier today. And you know what? My friend Edwin was there too !!!.
-- And then he shows me this big smile
-- I can feel this fantastic experience he had when he saw his friend Edwin.

I used to be listening to what he had to say, trying to understand his words. Who is Edwin? Edwin is my friend. Do I know Edwin? By that time Bart would smile and say nothing. And then I would realise it's impossible for him to answer this question - he really wouldn't know. But yesterday was different.

That's great news Bart!
-- I can feel his great joy. We both smile in happiness.

Then I get distracted. Someone else says something to me. I reply. Then i get back to Bart. And he repeats.

You know what? Edwin was there too !
-- Again this big smile, his face full of joy

Somehow i think i miss the point. Why does he repeat this?
I notice how he is fully aware that (part of) my attention is away from him and back inside myself.
Bart waits patiently until my attention is back with him.

-- and again he repeats
Hey Ronald, my friend Edwin was there too, you know!

Now i'm really touched. Is this possible? Could there be another world than the world of language, of understanding words? A world in which i'm the disabled, the foreigner? A world in which Bart is the native speaker? Is this the world of attention?

This feeling is getting to me. It's like i'm standing on the border of two worlds, one on the inside and one on the outside. This is the first time I realize in depth howmuch the culture around me has influenced my thougths, my very being. Now that i write this, i feel a deep emotion coming out from the inside. Yes, there is another world. I begin to see.


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