“Why don’t we ask him to join us?”
“The man over there sitting alone staring at his Starbucks coffee”, I said. “I know what it means to be alone in a room full of people”.
“May be he wants to be alone. People don’t like to be disturbed by strangers.”
“Well, why don’t we ask him. At least give him the choice to accept or decline the invitation.” I said walking up to the stranger.
“Sir, would you like to join us or would you rather be alone?”
“Are you asking me over to your table?” His eyes lit up with a surprise.
“Only if it’s okay with you!”
“Absolutely!” He said with a broad smile. “I was thinking to myself just how happy you all look and here I was all by myself, and nobody seemed to even notice”.
Most people would say that was a naïve and even foolish thing to do. I gambled the warmth and security of my companions for an uncertain future with a stranger. The man could have easily turned my invitation down and how embarrassing that would be!
In a society where we’re raised to believe that mankind by nature is basically hostile and evil, we’re forever expressing our loneliness in the accumulation of material things and obsession with a computer-generated reality. In the real world, we find it difficult to understand other human beings and for this reason avoid human-to-human contact.
Our natural urge is to avoid the risk of being rejected or hurt at all costs. We seldom consider the fact that we run an equal chance of being welcomed, accepted or loved by the person across the table or across the room if we extend a hand.
Yes, there are some people (mostly wounded people themselves) who take some joy in consciously embarrassing, isolating or hurting others and there are people who want nothing to do with you just because you are you. But my experience throughout life is that the greater majority of human beings would not intentionally hurt someone who is not trying to intentionally hurt them or cause any kind of harm (perceived or real) to their person, their loved ones, their way of life or property.
If we take the risk and extend a hand, it is true that we might be rejected, abandoned or taken advantage of, but it’s also true that we might get a positive response, be acknowledged, accepted — and even loved.
Love is love only if acted upon and experienced by someone else. If we go about life believing and acting like all human beings are prospective friends and lovers (as naïve and reckless as that may seem), we’ll always feel confident, self-assured, trusting, vulnerable and hopeful. And the universe will respond to us with more free flowing friendships and love than we can handle!
Now get out of this computer-generated reality, go out there and love someone today!