The Conspiracy

Humans of New York and of God

Humans of New York captures true love.

I’m used to skimming my Facebook newsfeed with my eyes rolling or just plain glazed over. But I’m not used to them welling up. Ever since I added Humans of New York to my Facebook list, though, it’s been happening more and more. This recent post alone was enough to restore my faith in humanity:

I wandered into the lobby of a nursing home on the Upper West Side, and discovered this man, who was on his way to deliver a yellow bear to his wife. “I visit her everyday,” he said, “even when the mind is gone, the heart shows through.”

Scrolling up and down the HONY page is like lining up all the interesting, adorable, hilarious people populating New York City without dwelling on the boring people in between. Or, more accurately, it’s like taking every single person in this great city and capturing their most endearing essence. No person is boring from HONY’s eyes.

When I walk through the bustling streets from the train to work and back again, my eyes are peeled for only Starbucks, when they’re not glued to the screen of my iPhone. HONY makes me wonder what I would see if I could stop and talk to every person I met. That elderly man over there isn’t just walking to the grocery store; he’s carrying the burden of trying to support his own aging mother along with the help of his siblings. A little girl dancing by to the beat of her stereo is proudly independent: “I belong to myself!” she would adamantly state if prompted.

HONY is like the old adage to stop and smell the roses, only it’s coming from a man who actually does. And instead of smelling roses, he’s finding the beauty in every person who passes. It’s difficult to argue with such a positive philosophy.

Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but the philosophy resonates with me as a Jew, as someone who was brought up to believe the Jewish approach that every person is made in the image of God. Every person is special, unique, and deserves to be treated with respect simply for being human. It’s a lesson worth remembering as the Jewish New Year rolls in and we are told again and again that each person must be treated with kindness, love and understanding.

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