On Empathy And Gentleness: What Would You Say To The Man From The Moon?

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Isn't empathy lovely?

Sometimes I look no further for examples of authentic empathy and true compassion than in the highly monetized and often fabricated world of pageants. It's always good when you find the needle in a haystack.

During the Miss Universe 1969, the host asks Gloria Diaz, "Miss Philippines, in the next day or so, a man will land on the moon. If the man from the moon landed in your hometown, what would you do to entertain him?"

Miss Philippines answers retiringly, "Just the same things I do... I think, if he's been in the moon for so long, when he comes over, he wants to change, I guess." 

This may have won her the title of Miss Universe. Yet crown or no crown, hearing someone answer a profound question with great consideration for the context of the story was indeed something to behold. She could have thought it an opportune moment to bring the attention to herself by giving what the audience wants to hear (ahem, world peace), but she spoke simply for herself with a certain responsiveness to the needs of another human being.

See, with our mediums already so technological, so hands-free, so fast-track, so swipe-right, it's become so easy to lose the art of being attuned and deliberate. We want to make our points known and opinions matter, stat, ultimately impeding the unfolding of a more effortless and meaningful connection. Then we wonder why we're so lonely.

What if we could step aside for a moment, forget our need to be seen or heard for a bit, and just be the beholder and the listener for once? Have you ever thought that maybe the saving grace we so desperately seek is in the moments we remember that we're not so alien to each other, and that true joy is found when we give others the comfort of being understood?