What Do You See

Posted on March 11, 2014

I’m a huge fan of Humans of New York (HONY). The photography is beautiful, but what’s most captivating is the way Brandon, the blog’s creator and photographer, is able to humanize his subjects. In the many times I’ve skimmed through the posts I’ve found myself both laughing and moved to tears. Then, I’m awe-struck at how Brandon sees these individuals, not for what they wear, or how they appear. He doesn’t see them just as New Yorkers or New York transplants; not as a man, or woman; child or teenager. He sees into their hearts by unearthing and understanding their stories.

What a beautiful approach, one that I am–all too often–guilty of not taking.

I can, in myself self-centered-ness, move through life bypassing people everyday without acknowledging them. The man standing next to me in the elevator, the lady behind me at my local coffee shop, or the child that crosses me in my neighborhood, suddenly are reduced to subjects in the busyness of my life. I wondered how much I am missing out on by not truly seeing and engaging individuals around me without pretense. Perhaps one reason Jesus chose to sit with tax collectors and prostitutes is because he wanted them to know that despite their sin, they were not invisible. And maybe he wanted them to know that their stories were important narratives to the accumulation of the human experience.

The truth is we’re all dealing with something. Everyone is carrying some form of cross. I wonder, though, if those crosses would be a little easier to carry if we chose to lift them together.

I’m making the commitment to see more people. I’m going to disarm individuality by becoming more vulnerable in hopes that it will validate the existence of others.

Will you join me?

Now it’s your turn: How can you make an effort to engage people who you don’t know? How can you create community by opening your space?

Tell me in the comments section below. And if you’ve enjoyed this post, share it with a friend. The more the merrier.

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