It’s a beautiful day for a neighbor.

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

I am sorry about the extremeness of yesterday’s post, I don’t know what came over me. What I meant to write about was this:

Yesterday at lunch I borrowed a magazine from the reception area at work and I read about the 32 students and teachers who had been murdered at Virginia Tech. As I read the brief eulogies printed there I became very sad, because each person sounded so precious. If he hadn’t been on a blind rampage it would seem that the killer had methodically picked out a selection of people who were diverse, yet collectively irreplaceable. I was sad because I would never have the chance to meet these people, to get to know them.

But it occurred to me–assuming the killer’s list of victims was completely haphazard and those 32 were only chosen to die for their unfortunate vicinity to a madman–it could have been anyone’s eulogy printed there in Newsweek. And how many people do I encounter every day whose presense I take for granted–not just friends and family, but acquaintences, strangers, passers-by. And many of them I will never get to know until their life has been pared down to a few sentences said in memorial. But I’m not trying to be morbid! If anything this is a call to take notice of the lives around you, not simply as a mass of people without faces, but as individuals with stories and experiences and dreams unique to them and irreplaceable in the human network.

How important to break through the statistics when we hear about an injustice. A number rolls off of us, unaffected. But to see the faces, to know the real void left by any one person, it is then that we cannot ignore it. These people are like us. We’re not so uncommon. We empathize. And meanwhile there are still so many people who come daily into our lives, and we begin to apperciate. Stranger. Neighbor. Brother. Maybe?