A Human Want

Two weeks ago, while walking the streets of Philadelphia, a middle-aged stranger, dressed as though not a man of means, stared me in the eyes as he walked past and said, “God bless you.”

Simply, I held the eye contact and responded, “Thank you. You, too.” When I spoke these words, he immediately stopped walking, spun on the balls of his feet to turn toward me and maintained perfect eye contact. He silenced himself for a few seconds while still staring me in the eyes, and in a somewhat surprised yet extremely genuine tone, he said, “Thank you for speaking to me.” After he said those words, he turned away and continued on his path, not giving me time to speak another word.


In the past week; a friend was murdered, another friend passed from unexpected medical complications, and a third friend was hospitalized due to a stroke, each seemingly far too young for such events.

Life delivers change and experiences that forever impress their mark on us. We cannot be sure of when these moments will occur or of their origins. However, what we do know is this: We must live our lives in a way where we lose ourselves in generous enthusiasms and love those around us unconditionally, family and strangers alike. The fact of the matter is that we are all in this together.


As newborns, we do not choose the world into which we enter. We do not choose the physical location, the people who make up our family and we do not choose the government who creates our laws and influences our civil landscape: a landscape that inevitably impacts the people we become. We do not choose to be born free or born in a region of the world stricken by civil unrest. We do not choose to be born into a family of wealth or one of poverty. We do not get to choose to have loving parents or grandparents whose hands are there to consistently guide us. We do not get to choose a family with broad shoulders who can carry us through the hard times and present to us great opportunities.