Have you ever been driving down the street, riding a bus or train, walking through your neighborhood, or talking with a friend, when all of a sudden truth reaches out and slaps you across the face? No? You have no idea what I'm talking about? Well then, allow me to explain.
The other morning Drew and I were driving back from breakfast when I saw a man, a homeless man, standing on the street corner. This is not unusual in LA... actually, this is not unusual in most parts of the country these days, which is sad (to say the least). The man had his trademark sign, scribbled on card board, it read, "Hungry, please help. God Bless" Simple. Effective. My instant reaction is to question most of (if not all of) these people. In LA homeless shelters abound and help groups are constantly giving clothing and meals to the people living on the street (of which there are thousands), but there was something about this guy, there was a truth about him that struck me- He is human and he is hurting. Perhaps I was more open to this truth, given the conversation Drew and I had been having over breakfast, or maybe it was the fact that he reminded me of my little brother even though he was far older than I, or maybe it was simply the pain in his eyes which, somehow, felt incredibly honest. Either way, I had to help and I knew it.
This then got me to thinking about the depths of his truth that he is, you are, I am, in spite of how we dress ourselves up and pretend, and present our selves to the world, we are ALL human. We were ALL born. We all come from somewhere, we all have a story unique to US; isn't that amazing and heartbreaking, beautiful and messy!? God, it just really gets me between the ribs. Humanity is such a vast mass of perspective, interpretation, and struggle, it is divine and holy and far too often we let all the superficial surface shit get in the way of being.
In 'The Dignity of Difference' Rabi Jonathan Sacks speaks of humanity, and self, and how we are uniquely us and the world needs us to be as we are. After all, “The very fact that we are different means that what I lack, someone else has, and what someone else lacks, I have.” We all, if we go by the Rabi's words, need each other to function as a whole.
We exist in a world that is more connected and yet less human. Our phones are the medium through which we 'experience' the world. There is something to be said for 'keeping up' with friends and family who live far away of course or seeing what the people in your life are up to on social media, but when that takes the place of sharing a conversation over a meal or spending time playing a game, taking a class, dancing, hiking, laughing, crying, running, walking, crafting, in REAL life together, than I have to question what our actual values are.
You are a human being. That is beautiful and magical and... fucking brave! You have this life, THIS life... the one your are living RIGHT NOW... and it is so easy to forget that fact.
Go look out a window. Take a deep breath, take in the world outside, and think of how incredible it is that each of the cars passing by has another human being living out their own story, trying their best to be in the world. Look at the birds, the clouds, the trees, feel the air around you and close your eyes... you are here, you are you, you are doing your best (and I will do mine). It is hard not to feel the ache of thankfulness creeping in, even in the struggle, even in the imperfection. I am grateful for you, who ever you are, wherever you may be.
Here is to you, here is to me... here is to the beauty of humanity.