All Posts By

Stephanie Clarke

One dream for many

By | 2016, Europe | No Comments

Whether it is the dream of a continent, a nation, or a community, people are drawn together in order to work towards a greater goal which will give their life meaning. The construction of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was the dream of the deceased Catalan man, Antoni Gaudi. It is now well over a century since the construction of the Sagrada Familia began and I questioned its very existence. Why are we chasing the dream of a deceased man? Why are we building a church of such grandeur when there are people begging for food just down the road? Who is paying for the completion of a dead man’s dream? My judgement was clouded by negative assumptions and ignorance towards the project which filled me with anger and self righteousness. It did not occur to me for a second that this dream was bigger than him, or that others shared his dream, or even that I could share his dream.

Mindlessly strolling down the busy streets of Barcelona I caught a glimpse of a mountain peaking over the buildings. As we got closer trees began to form on the mountain. Then all of a sudden, we were standing in front of the most beautifully carved mountain, located in the heart of Barcelona. Each rock face told a story and each tree was illuminated by the light reflecting off of hundreds of stained glass flowers. After walking into the mouth of the cave tears filled my eyes. Beauty of this kind was a myth to me until that second. The trees above me reflected every color, the birds were singing, and light was breaking through the leaves and shining down on me. This was the moment that I knew why the dream of a deceased Catalan man was so important. Our world needs this kind of beauty and this kind of beauty would never exist if it were not for the dreams of individuals who decide to share them with us. The Sagrada Familia was the dream of one man, today it is the dream of millions, and tomorrow the world will celebrate in its completion. We have to take back our dreams and share them with the world.

metamorphosis

By | 2016, Europe | No Comments

The countless trees surrounding me take the shape of men, the flowers warp into bloody mud covered shrapnel, and the song of the birds turn into the horrific numbing sound of gun shots as I kneel deep in a trench, eyes closed and allowing my imagination to consume me. My hands cusp my ears while I tap on the back of my head trying to grasp an inch of the reality in which millions have bared before me. My heart becomes heavy, tears welling in my eyes, and for the first time in my life I realize that the life I know is nothing in comparison to the millions of people who bore witness to such an atrocity. Within seconds I feel as though I could not bear to stay there a moment longer, but I feel the need to push through the heart-wrenching illusion with the fear that I will forget everything as soon as I open my eyes. This is not a joy filled moment, nor is it hopeful, but it is real and through it I feel as though I have been able to break the boundaries of time to connect with my brothers before me on the most simple of levels and that is something I would never take back.