After a recent flare, my focus has become cloudy, and my resolve weakened. The last couple of days, however, have forced me to look outward, to embrace what is in front of me. Yesterday, we toured the downtown area. We had traveled that way before, but I was young and my memory has faded.
Parked just above the port, we caught a refreshing breeze from the lake. The water was just a shade darker than the sky, both perfectly clear. The breeze soon turned into a rushing wind, urging me forward as the road ahead sloped. As we traveled further in, new layers seemed to unfold. Statutes, monuments, and open gardens were around every corner.
One statute was of a man whose arm was extended toward heaven, his body contorted in an attempt to rise above the flames surrounding him, desperate to escape from the world’s entanglements. At the base of his figure, water spurted up from a fountain and sprayed my face, refreshing both my body and my resolve.
Just beyond him, were the towers. The peaks seemed to extend into the heavens, except, unlike the statue, the towers rose with power. The architecture reflected the pride with which they were constructed, striking awe into the onlooker. Until I walked inside, I would have never suspected that the building needed to be renovated. But as is often the case, the interior was a stark contrast to the exterior.
The sprawling shopping center revealed the price of age and mocked the hasty construction. Above me, black mold coated the rafters. The must seemed to be taunting me, daring me to breath without pain. We left just as soon as we entered, and gladly inhaled the fresh air. Leaving the towers in a haze, I was thankful the day was nearly spent.
On the way back to our car, my heart was saddened by the many people whose homes were park benches, whose sunken faces were marked by defeat and resignation. Those around us stared, but they looked away, too weak to meet another gaze, too broken to accept fleeting sympathy. Words would not be enough to mend the hurt.
We soon found our car, our transport to the world below the towers. Below, yet above in more ways than one. Contentment flooded my heart, and breath became that much sweeter.