Friday, May 16, 2008


I would like to write about this today. I look around me and at the world at large and see how much the world has got us all entrenched in things material and external. Come to think of it, people judge me for what I wear or with the choices I make, good or bad. People measure me for how much I got in the bank or how high up the corporate ladder I’ve gone. People label me for the company I keep or my choice of friends. People size me up for the glitter and glitch I have hang up on my body or to what schools I send my children to or whether my car is of the latest model.

If that be the measure I would certainly stand no chance and those who have everything that pleases the eye would make the grade. But don’t get me wrong, wealth or position serve its own uses and purposes too. And if people work hard for it, it becomes a prize or just reward for achievement.

Yet there must be much more to that.

You see, I’d like to be appreciated for who I am and not for what I have acquired for myself no matter how exquisite it may be, in physical or material terms -- Because I am definitely more than what I possess or do not possess.

This is the same gauge I use in people and life and the bigger world outside. There is more to what I see -- Positively more.

Those things which truly matter are hidden to the eye. Sometimes these things do not translate itself outwardly for some reason or another. It gets bundled up inside the person who has to tend with overwhelming odds or resistance or rejection or neglect. But it’s there quietly beating in the heart, waiting for its own true moment. And yet again because anything true and genuine cannot be muffled or stifled a hundred percent of the time all of the time, it somehow slips out in small gestures or snippets of expression too minute and often go unnoticed.

You can’t see these with the eye. Certainly cannot know how much hurt or pain or suffering is bottled up inside. Or how much good intent there is and why that person would concede to suffering. What if a person acts the way he does which may appear quite odd to others but because he seeks to protect a loved one or ease the burden of another and so does it anyway? When someone rubs you the wrong way and goes against your grain and pisses you off big time, but do you know what’s pushing him to be that way? Most people put up a lot of facades or masks or fences to hide things which they feel would not be accepted or understood by others. They build high walls to keep out other human beings who they think are out to fry them and break them down to pieces. And some pretend that they don’t need people at all – that self is sufficient and all that’s needed to live life with. More often than not, what you see in people isn’t what you get.

I see people – human beings who breathe the air I breathe, walk the roads I walk, dream the dreams I dream, play the same games I play, work the same jobs I work at, and know that we are all the same in our similarities and differences.

But the eyes of my heart can see well and better. It sees what goes on behind the facades and masks --- and understands. It can sift through the grain and pick out gems of feelings, thoughts, values, ideals, and intent. It understands that these are the things which truly matter. It knows that it is the person inside which is real and true and worthy.

It is only with the heart that one can see clearly,
for themost essential things are invisible to the eye."

-- Antonie de Sainte Exupery

(The picture here is courtesy of Malen, my youngest daughter, who took it with her phone cam. The subject is Maxie, our pet dog.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


There is nothing so frustrating as to be ignored or misunderstood. But funny we always are and do with each other. As I go about my life and business I’m often told that it’s all that I must do – mind my own business and leave others with theirs.

Are you sure that’s smart? Are you sure that’s compassionate? Are you sure that’s what being human is all about?

Smart is smart when you know that everything a person does stands connected to his neighbor or to the next person beside him, stranger or not. You can’t just go around brandishing your brand of living, speech, or behavior not caring who gets bumped or knocked down by your shadow as you pass it by. The day or moment, or on a larger scale as the world, does not center on you --- alone. It is composed of zillions of other creatures of life which share the center stage with you. They too matter as you do. They’ve got their own stories to tell and deserve to be heard. They’ve got their own ambitions or dreams and deserve to pursue it. They’ve got their desires, passions, and love and deserve to feel or express it. They’ve got their own share of sorrows and pain and deserve to be comforted and cared for. They are so much you – as you are so much them. Understanding this is being smart.

‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ So you think that a miserable-looking man in ragged clothes dirty mien, roaming the streets begging for a penny does not concern you. Or a middle-aged guy looking out through the bars of his lonely cell is his just reward and that makes you feel safe. Or when thousands go hungry in a country far away is the fault of their lousy government and not yours. Or that the pedophile pouncing on young innocent victims is alright just as long as he doesn’t swoop down on your territory or your own brood. Oh but that concerns you – everything that is wrong whether it touches you directly or not – will concern you because it has the potential to hurt or harm you. But you have the power to change things if you want to. You may not be the government with all the resources in your hands nor a billionaire who can send off plane loads of food to Africa but you are you with your one voice, pair of hands, and a mind and heart that thinks and feels rightly when the time is come for it. You can with your one voice try to shift the eyes of the world to the plight of your poor world neighbors. You can point your finger to the instruments of evil threatening our families, communities, and the world. You can pack food and clothes and give it to the poor man on the street. It won’t take much to show compassion for another human being. All it takes is a mind and a heart which cares… truly cares.

If you think that you are given life to do as you wish, the answer is no. Yes, we do mind our days with jobs we work at from 9 to 5 24/7, get married, raise families, send children to school but that’s not all there is to life and living. There’s more entwined there because you stand connected to the world outside too that will surely engage your fullest capacity, ability, or talent if you look hard and listen well. And that does not simply operate in your own small circle of family or close friends although it can begin there. It’s a huge expanse which covers your community, to people you’ve never seen before in your whole life, and to the world at large. One voice or one small step or one lighted candle can lead to bigger and better things for a greater number of people.

Do what you can with what you are and what you have to shape lives, to bring hope, to tell your brothers regardless of race, color or creed that you see and are looking, that you hear and are listening. That is what being human is all about. And may you be blessed a hundredfold for it.