Life is a journey and we learn along the way. We are like pilgrims, on a journey to discover, to witness. What if everything you see, and everyone you meet everyday is teaching you something? What if you consider yourself as an ambassador of the Higher Being, God, and as a Human Being, you are here to relate to others?
Everyday we have temporary relationships with those beside us in a bus ride, in the plane, walking along with us on the street, in the market, at school, in a classroom, on holidays, or at the workplace.
It is up to us to decide if these contacts will be significant or meaningless. Everyone we meet is a story in itself, a mystery. I know that these days, people have become very cautious about talking to ‘strangers’. We’ve become very suspicious of one another, even when there is no reason to be. Most of us will never dare make eye contact with people we do not know.
There is a man here in Vienna who usually goes topless all year round, even during the coldest winter seasons. Everyone believes he is mad. I believed he was mad. I avoided him and wondered why the authorities have not confined him, until one day he stood by me in the bus. This was in winter. He was topless, with shorts and open sandals! I summoned up courage and spoke to him while everyone stared at us. He told me his name was Robert (I think), and is half African, half British. I asked him why he went about topless and if he was not cold. He replied, “ I want to prove something.” “What do you want to prove?” I asked. “ I want to prove that the human skin is meant to withstand a lot more than we think. I have slept outside in the snow. On one occasion, the ambulance came to pick me up assuming that I was dead and frozen” he chuckled. “ I got up, scraped away the snow on my eyelashes and told them that I was alright!” he laughed. I was holding a book in my hand. He turned to me and asked for the title of the book. I tilted the book towards him. It was a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer. He read out the title, “‘You’ll see it when you believe it’. You see what I mean?” he chuckled again. “This is exactly what I want to prove!”
What a lesson! Robert is still around, healthy and strong in Vienna. Perhaps someday, science would be writing about him and his belief about the human skin!
You may remember some stories of interesting encounters with strangers you met in your life’s journey. I have been opportuned to moved around the world and I cannot here recount the innumerable inspiring things I have learned by meeting new people. Each person is just like me, with families, loved ones, concerns, hopes and aspirations.
You may have heard of the ‘’Six degrees of separation hypothesis” by the Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy in 1929. This hypothesis states that “all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other”. In other words, any two people in the world, by way of introduction, are connected in a maximum of 6 steps. This means that any two strangers could be connected through some acquaintances if they take time to introduce themselves step by step, thereby forming ‘a chain of a friend of a friend’. This hypothesis is now often used as a synonym for the idea of the “small world” or the ‘shrinking world phenomenon’, but who knows? Presently, analogous experiments are being conducted in some universities in the U.S.A. on social connectedness among Internet and email users.
We are all connected. As we move around each day and meet people, we could be the channels through which God can reach someone. Or perhaps there is a message from each person for us. You will notice how nice and appreciative most people are when you are the first to reach out. Moreover, you get some pleasant feeling of inner happiness.
4 thoughts on “What are the people you meet today teaching you?”
Thanks aunts Phil. Your write up is not far from the homily I heard at the mid day mass today. Ie in our own little way, say an encouraging word to those we meet and around us. We don’t have to be as big as Saints Peter, Paul or the other disciples. We can start with little cheerful caring words such as I didn’t see you at work/ mass/gym etc today or yesterday etc. hope you are okay
Thanks, Chinwe. You got it! Yes, ‘..with little cheerful, caring words such as ‘I didn’t see you at work ….’ we can brighten a person’s day! Thanks for reading and responding.How’s the family, at home and abroad? Stay blessed always.Philomena
What a powerful and truly humanizing article. I read it earlier in the week and revisited it again. Each time, I see different dimensions and meanings – all pointing toward promotion of ‘oneness’ if, and only if, we can see ourselves as unified beings. Make the first move.
Thank you Raph. You got the point. We have all being submerged in our little biases, prejudices and fears that we no longer see the innocence or the connectivity in all of us and everything around us. I remember while in New York in 2009, I decided that I was going to test out seeing the good in some people whom society label ‘no good’. I would feign ignorance and ask a homeless person or begger the directions to somewhere. My husband would freak out on this! On one occasion, I walked up to a homeless, tattered man searching in a trash bin. I asked for the direction to the Ports Authority. “Excuss me”, I said. “Do you know the direction to the Ports Authority?” He quickly stoped what he was doing, and not only pointed at the direction, but offered to lead me towards it! Haha! Have a good day!