Humans are the most fragile creatures on this planet. I truly believe this. An adult human can be reduced to a puddle by one single statement from his or her mother. One who walks tall and proud can be brought low by a sibling’s single criticism. A wife, strong and independent, can be brought down by a husband’s failure to acknowledge a new outfit. A friend can wound a friend in a moment.
At the same time, these same humans can emerge from abusive relationships, violent attacks, having witnessed murder or some other horrible act, and carry on giving love and support, providing, producing, and sharing with others. We might be the most fragile of species, but we most certainly are the most wondrous. It is no wonder that some believe that humans are created in the image of God. What other species can give up its belongings, wealth, time and energy to complete strangers because of a tender heart? What other species on this planet can travel long distances to help starving people learn to grow their own food or fight for the right of women to determine their own lives or be free from oppression?
We most certainly do share many cruel and, some believe, negatively self-preserving characteristics with other animals, but we are unique in our fragility and strength, in our loving hearts and the ability to truly care about others. Yes, I really do believe humans alone possess these characteristics, and I believe these positives are taught. While some believe that human beings are born with all good qualities and learn the bad ones, I struggle with the idea that it is the other way around: that humans are born selfish and self-centered. That we must learn to share and give. On the other hand there are those who have been around only cruelty as children who emerge amazing specimens of generosity and love. It is one of those great mysteries of life that philosophers wrestle with even today. Psychologists theorize but fail to completely explain this unexplainable phenomenon.
Ah well, the wonderful part is that enough people are kind, caring, generous and loving to offset the negatives in life. Not for everyone, tragically or suicide would not ever happen. But enough that our species does not self-destruct in a single generation as it could if no one cared.
In 2014, I hope to care even more. I hope to allow my heart to become more tender and gentler, yet stronger and more resilient. Yes, I have great expectations for 2014. May your 2014 be full of wonder, love, tenderness, beauty, compassion, and human success (the kind that can never be measured in dollars or possessions).
Happy New Year!