Caring is consoling. It’s seeing things the other way around, from the other’s point of view. It’s seeing the colour of blood forming and, with surprise and happiness, understanding that, while being the same, it’s different.
Care is an old and elegant verb that means no less than loving. On the subject of love and friendship, Dom Francisco de Portugal wrote these words in the seventeenth century, as beautiful as they are necessary: “The friend wants what he can still love, while the lover wants what he can stop loving. One cares for himself, while the other neglects himself”.
Caring is neglecting ourselves, giving ourselves to those we love without wishing for anything in return or any sign of gratitude. It is the most selfless form of affection because it does not seek reciprocity – like the parents’ love for their children or the children’s love for their parents. Caring is turning love into a simultaneously rare and common flower.
Caring is having time. More than this: it is using time, an entity that we ourselves have invented, on behalf of the other. Straightening out life’s imperfections, smoothing over the rough edges of the days. Often, caring helps us to rescue ourselves from ourselves.
Caring is all this and exactly what Patrícia de Herédia’s pictorial calligraphy offers us, a painted letter that says many different things to each person. It is a welcome message in a world that seems to live more for barricades than for shelters.
In caring, we can find sanctuary. Take care of yourselves, and let’s take care of ourselves.
Nuno Miguel Guedes, 2019