Seeing Ourselves in Each Other
I fell in love with the manager of the bakery.
It was a chain near where I went to school. It had bright lights, big booths, and bagels, scones, croissants you picked yourself and dropped into waxy bags to take to the register.
Sometimes the manager was at the register. But the moment I fell in love with him happened right by the entrance to the bakery.
A man had walked in. His small, thin body was bent from sleeping in doorways, contorted with the shame of people passing him, never looking or seeing him.
Now, he stood in the bakery, hunched and hungry. The manager walked right to him, stood a foot and a half taller than the hungry man. And my heart already hurt for the hungry man. He was about to be kicked out, another eviction from human society.
But quietly, without display and without condescension, the manager handed the man a bag full of food.
Perhaps he saw himself in the hungry man. The manager had come, I think, from the Democratic Republic of Congo; no doubt he knew the awful pain of people never looking or seeing him.
And it is when we can see ourselves in another that we can see their human wounds. And we can no longer pass them by.
The man took the bag full of food. He mumbled something. Then, he walked out the door.
The manager returned to his work. And I loved him. For his humanity. For his communion with the abandoned among us. For feeding another man's deep, human hunger.
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