During a trip several years ago to New York City my daughter and I spent more than 90 minutes sitting in the middle of Times Square, just looking. That is what you do in Times Square. Absorbing the never-ending visual overload… Electronic billboards stacked on each building, displaying continuously-changing images.
Marketing every type of product: television programs, upcoming movie releases, stock market information, weather… If you can think of it, there it is, in astonishingly brilliant light. Even though you’re overwhelmed, you notice the people standing near you, and they’re doing exactly the same thing, equally enthralled. It’s not only the Times Square billboards you find yourself observing, but the enormous crowd as well. I believe we saw every culture and heard every language spoken in this rich world.
We saw an Asian grandfather taking a family photo while the father smiled for the picture. This didn’t stop the father from filming all images surrounding them using his very own handheld video camera. I watched as a South American mother chastised her son in Spanish for running too far ahead of her in a very large crowd.
A Middle Eastern family displayed their obvious excitement as they entered the Toys”R”Us. They were in route to board the full-size Ferris wheel located in the middle of the store. I even saw French teens arguing with their parents, debating something unbeknownst to me. I couldn’t understand a word, but the parent-teen disagreement was apparent by the body language of each family member.
Sitting in the middle of this activity led my daughter and I into a conversation about how different the various cultures appear. We saw every clothing style, skin color, language, and eye shape. Yet we both realized how alike we all really are. I love this! Everyone I saw in that six- or seven-block area was drinking up the same experience. We were each creating our own memories with family and friends. Family photos taken, disagreements over details, protecting those we love—all human and truly wonderful experiences.
While pondering these individuals, I am reminded that when we get past the things that make each of us different, we get to the real truth: We really are a lot alike. Each and every human wants to enjoy the life they are given. They want to share it with those they love.
All of us want to have those great relationships that are built on trust and understanding. Every one of us wants to be loved. There is not a human that doesn’t want their life to matter—in our achievements and in our relationships.
We really are a lot alike. Each and every human wants to enjoy the life they are given. They want to share it with those they love.
In the midst of this crazy place my heart was truly warmed by the amazing richness of humanity. And I realized once again that we are all in this together. There are only a few things that really do matter. One of the most important of those is how we treat one another. This applies to those in our daily world, our family and friends, as well as those we meet in the strangest places.
If we manage this well our relationships will be rich, our life rewarding, and our memories precious. There isn’t much more we can ask for than that.
We created some great memories while we were there. I experienced the beautiful microcosm that New York is of this world with one of my most precious life treasures, my younger daughter. We will always cherish these memories made in New York City, and at the top of that list will be us sitting in the middle of Times Square, just watching.
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