WHen I first moved to NYC almost eight years ago, I remember the initial feeling of being intimidated by the sea of people here. Even though I was raised un an urban setting, I'd never seen so many people in one place, seemingly packed tightly together everywhere I turned. It was hard for me to find a sense of community-- to even know where to begin. The longer I've been here, however the smaller and more intimate the city seems. Likely like you, I have had my "New York" moments, running into people I know by chance amid thousands of faces randomly in the subway or on a street corner. This has reminded me that, in actuality,our shared community is very small in the grand scheme of life.
I have many people close to me whose personal opinions about politics differ greatly from mine. One day, while visiting my home in San Francisco and riding in the car with one of these people, she said to me in a fit of rage that it was "not her responsibility to pay for someone else's life, mistakes, children, healthcare or the like." While I can understand both sides of this, I couldn't help but think of living here in NYC and all the faces of random strangers I see every single day of my life now... and the stories those faces tell...and the stories they hide. THe money isn't what makes the world go 'round. It's those people --- the ones behind the faces we encounter every day. The money is only a means to an end.
Like love and kindness, we always get tenfold what we give to the world, to our shared community. True, there is pain, sacrifice, and even hardship involved sometimes; but how could we ever know peace and concord without knowing the sensations of their counterparts: turmoil, discord, and struggle? Tough as it is, we survive... and we are undoubtedly better for the wear. Knowing this and remembering those faces makes it easier for me to do my part. It makes it possible for us to do this work in the world.