Life consists of very simple elements, so simple that we often find ourselves considering them complex and incomprehensible. Living in Caracas made me adopt a somewhat pessimistic view of Venezuela’s political future. As many others, I have been hoping for change for over half my life now, and the lack of results infects my mind with negative prognostics for the future of my beloved hometown. Sure, during just these first few days of November, there have been at least 74 violent deaths reported by extra-official sources. Granted, our government is unstable, our streets unsafe and our press isn’t free. But life works in mysterious ways, and we tend to forget about the existence of the yings to the yangs.
Focusing on events that portray a negative perspective of life in Caracas allows for a thick, dark vail to obstruct the reality we perceive. There is a famous phrase that says, “God is in the details,” in the small things. Thinking about this saying makes one look within, look at the little miracles we tend to take for granted. One of such miracles (although definitely not a “small” one) took place yesterday during the NYC Marathon.
Maickel Melamed, a 36-year-old Venezuelan, proved to the world that, in his own words, “nothing is too big to not be attempted.” Melamed decided he wanted to run the New York marathon, despite physical difficulties he presents even to walk. As a baby, his umbilical cord strangled him, leaving him without oxygen for almost seven minutes. This resulted in several physical conditions, making it harder for Melamed to move. A fighter then, and a fighter today, Melamed finished the marathon after 15 straight hours of exercise. An amazing miracle that warmed the hearts of every Venezuelan watching. We all needed an event like this to realize there is always hope.
Melamed during the marathon, wearing his bright yellow shirt with a Venezuelan flag on the back.
Photo courtesy of Arianna Arrteaga Quintero.
He is a living reminder of a very special phrase from a very special lyric, “caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar,” (wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking,” Antonio Machado.
Thank you, Maickel, for giving us back that flame we need in our spirits to carry on. You have shared your strength and happiness with everyone watching your example, brightening our day. After all, the buddhist say happiness is like a flame; it doesn’t shrink when shared.