Yesterday I was in the Newark airport. I had some time before my flight, so I stopped by the meditation room in my concourse. When I walked in, there was a young woman praying the Rosary.

I sat down, set my timer for ten minutes and practiced mindfulness meditation in the calm, quiet space. At some point during the time I was sitting there, someone else entered the room.

When my timer went off, I opened my eyes to leave and saw that the person who had entered was kneeling on a rug in Muslim prayer.

A smile instantly came to my lips and my heart filled as I realized that three people were in that room at the same time practicing three different traditions for connecting with the miracle of life.

I am not an overtly patriotic person, but I did find myself thinking “This is the America I believe in most strongly.”

 

Today I was shopping for dinner. Outside our local supermarket was a woman I have seen many times in our town. Occasionally I see her on the sidewalk talking loudly and waving her arms energetically. I assume that she is homeless, although I do not know if that is actually the case.

She was asking passersby if they could spare some change. A woman carrying groceries stopped, pulled out her wallet, and handed her some bills. The woman beamed and said “Thank you so much.”

This was a sweet moment. However, it is what happened next that made me proud to be human. The woman who had given the money looked right at the other woman and said “Of course honey, you’re one of us.”

They each smiled at each other for another second, and then it was over. I thought my heart was going to break.

I was reminded over the last two days that, not only is it possible to recognize each other’s dignity, people are doing it all the time.