I care about this man, and I have no idea who he is other than the fact that he was kneeling in front of me at a swim meet. However, his ears, neck, hands and arms remind me of my late father. That is enough to open the door to my heart.
Perhaps we should see in those we don’t know the beauty of someone we do know. It would certainly make it easier to communicate, appreciate, accept and love. It would make more human our work, our personal lives and our interactions with strangers. It would make us better doctors, nurses, teachers, managers, spouses, friends. It would enrich our lives and the lives of those we encounter.
Sad and strange how we tend to project the bad feelings we have for one person to all others of similar ilk. Whether it is divorce, war, workplace or family history, we tend to give ownership of the bad characteristics that we have experienced to everyone else who is the same gender, race, nationality or role. How sad for all of us.
The man in the image has hurt people in his life; he is human. He has disappointed people in his life; he is human. He has also loved, healed, helped, held, laughed, cried; he is human. And it is easier for me to accept the richness of who he is simply because his appearance evokes sweet memories of my father.
Listen with more than just our ears; listen with our senses and find connections to what we pick up with something else that is sublime and treasured in our heart. The stranger is no longer strange; the alien is no longer enemy. And beauty surrounds us.