“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ―Helen Keller
The Statue gazed kindly down on the city, guarding over the weal and woe of his citizens. He knew the soul of every rich and every poor man, the on-going struggles of an uneven society.
His gaze swept over the beautiful beaches, the loaf-like mountain across him, the urban forests, and the blue ocean. The vibrant rhythm of a city known worldwide for its boisterous carnival parties reverberated in his ears.
The Statue was proud of his city – famed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Thousands of people flocked there yearly to admire the various tick-off-on-the-list sites.
Heart-breaking, though, were those who came in high spirits to join the famous yearly Carnival but left the city with dull eyes and unfulfilled souls. For many people, the Statue thought, happiness was gained from some source outside themselves.
The Statue peered into the distance, musing on the delicate nature of human beings.
Then He noticed her.
She was entranced by the samba music and dancing of the *bloco she was caught up in. A couple of hours ago, King Momo received the key to the city from the Mayor. It meant only one thing on that beautiful Summer Friday. The Carnival had started.
For four days, a tide of various blocos swept the Woman down the streets of the city. She sang and danced with strangers throughout the nightly hours.
But then the scenes of jubilation came to an unwelcome end. Gone were the singers, the dancers, the music and the costumes.
The Statue noticed the tired look on her face. He knew the Woman was confused. For a few days, she was wrapped up in euphoria. But it was gone and left her with a dull feeling of gloom.
She stood on the beach. The light breeze played through her hair. In the soft glimmer of dawn, she lifted her face unintentionally in the direction of the Statue.
She saw the outlines of the Statue bayed in the orange-pink rays of the sun, his widespread arms comforting her in her loneliness and desolation.
“My Child, you should not forget the purpose of your journey,” she heard the Statue said. “Pleasure always has its time and place, but pleasure alone cannot carry you through this life. You must always look beyond fleshly gratification for spiritual touchstones to guide you on your paths.”
The Woman kneeled in child’s pose on the soft sand to acknowledge the Statue’s teachings.
* Blocos are groups of friends from neighborhoods who organize street parties ahead for the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Each Bloco has its own anthem with loads of other songs, as well as a music band.