Queridas Irene e Lélia,
Attached is Dr. Bobby J. Chamberlain’s and my English translation of Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira de Almeida Alves’ “Testemunho” to her late husband, Colonel Vítor Alves — the Portuguese original of which (along with Irene’s introduction) appeared on 17 January 2011 — which I’m hoping the Comunidades blog would be willing to publish to complement the Lusophone version:
I feel that an English translation would be especially useful, because I fear the Anglophone segment of the Azores overseas communities is probably less well versed about the Carnation Revolution, as well Colonel Alves’ important role in it.
Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira de Almeida Alves – “Testemunho” 17 Jan 2011
“Testimony,” Translated into English by Katharine F. Baker & Dr. Bobby J. Chamberlain
“There is a time for everything,” as we learned in the Book of Ecclesiastes:
To every thing there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted,
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
Vítor has passed through his time and nothing was alien to his life experience.
He was born on the last day of the harvest, when the ripe grapes are transformed into precious nectar, which also symbolizes the transubstantiation of Christ’s blood.
He died in the season when we annually celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, who came to offer the world rebirth in faith and love.
He planted seeds of life, both biological and social, and sought to pull out the weeds that sprout here and there.
He longed to destroy signs of human immaturity, and to build to build a more egalitarian and just world.
He enjoyed to the fullest the times of tears and laughter, too, those of lamentation and celebration, in the variety of experiences woven into his identity.
He cast stones and gathered them together in building his dreams.
He tenderly embraced life without ever compromising the freedom of his choices.
He embarked on his quest, celebrating wins and accepting defeats.
He zealously guarded the gifts he received, but without being weighed down by them.
He cut paths, while striving to cling to his innermost self.
He muzzled his sorrows, but never refrained from fighting for his ideas.
He loved with (com)passion; he experienced the feeling of hatred, but never cultivated it.
He practiced the art of war, but without ever losing his ideal of peace.
THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
The time has come for Vítor to travel from the periphery, where we live in our weaknesses and dreams, to the center, where the fullness is revealed.
As testimony to a life shared for almost a half-century, I fervently hope that in his quest for the center Vítor may be granted the soothing of the restlessness that has prepared him to journey, sometimes in joy, other times in pain, along the path of full redemption.