“I never heard another man tell me that he loved me,” said the younger man to the older man in the StoryCorps booth. He went on to say how awkward he felt and how he didn’t know what else to say. Emotion broke in his voice. “So I told you what I tell you all the time now–that I loved you, too.” The story unfolds how this man had become stand in father for this younger man who was involved in gangs and drugs, how the relationship solidified and helped turn the young man’s life around. The man who was the mentor had found a way to touch the human in the humanity.
Perhaps not with as much drama, most of us who make it to a certain age have had these moments. Moments where another human being found a way to touch the human in our humanity. A look. A knowing. An understanding of an experience. A hug. An affirming word. A meal. A job. A letter of recommendation. A hand up.
Likewise, if we have made it to a certain age, we have had moments where we were given the opportunity to see the human in the humanity around us. I think those moments approach us all the time. I have been the recipient of so many occasions when another human being effectively touched the human in my humanity. It occurs to me that along the way I can be that person who sees, knows, touches, acknowledges and affirms the human in the humanity around me. I just have to be watching. The opportunities will come.
Touching the human in the humanity–it’s a blessing. We can receive that blessing and we can be that blessing.