For the past few months, the general focus and discussions have been on the divisions, the polarizations, the separations, and the disconnections between the people of America.
However, something extraordinary has happened as a result of Hurricane Harvey and the flooding in Houston, Texas.
The all-pervasive hate that seemed to be the focus of so many people has been displaced — and it now has been replaced by the focus on the love, the courage, the strength, the cooperation, the caring, the kindness, the goodwill, and the compassion of the people of Houston.
Perhaps, for the first time in so many years, possibly since September 11, 2001, we’re now seeing again the power of the human spirit.
It is so easy for us to focus on the negative, to focus on the hate, and even I have been doing that. And yet now, just looking briefly at some of the videos, the photos, and reading the stories of so many people, countless people, who forgot about political affiliations, race, skin color, culture, creed or financial status, and instead, suddenly, they thought only about one thing — their fellow human being.
It is at times like this that I am moved deeply by the potential of humans to commit good. I have said many times before that within each of us, we have the capacity to commit good and evil. And here we are now showing our capacity for extraordinary acts of good, of kindness, love, and even self-sacrifice.
It is in these times of common suffering, of common vulnerability, where all the things that formally separated us suddenly disappear and we all become one because we think only of what we all have in common — that we are all human beings, that we are all connected. We all experience the same emotions, the vast range of human emotions; we are all subject to the fragility, the frailty of life.
And in these moments we understand the preciousness of life itself.
And so even if it be temporary, we throw away the shackles of money, possessions, of power and status, of title and position, and we focus on connecting with our fellow human beings — of caring, holding, caressing, rescuing, and lifting up our brothers and sisters.
I have seen the people who, without request, without a push or a call to action, have simply taken it upon themselves to look for a way to rescue their neighbors. Perhaps to climb in a boat or walk through the flooded waters of Houston in search of other people who need rescuing, perhaps to rescue helpless animals — dogs and even horses.
Perhaps I might be rambling, and yet I choose to make it known that I’m humbled by the extraordinary acts of self-sacrifice, courage, compassion and love that the people of Houston have shown and continue to show to each other.
Once again, I’m reminded that we truly feel alive when we are helping, giving, and sharing of ourselves in order to help another human being.
From my heart, I thank the people of Houston for reminding me of what’s truly important; for reminding me of the extraordinary power of the human spirit to express love above everything else.
Patrick Wanis, PhD, is a human behavior and relationship expert. This Fox News piece is used by permission; the Associated Press contributed.
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