Tiny Portraits of the Human Experience

The Mayan woman holding her crying grandchildren. Tears streaming down her face as she kneels in front of the remains of her dead son. Now just a pile of decaying bones, but for her, a bittersweet confirmation of his whereabouts after 25 years of disappearance. Looking at the picture, thousands of miles away, you can feel her pain in your chest. A lump in your throat suggests your luck in the draw of your birth place.

The white man who stops in the middle of the street to help a black man retrieve his papers that are blowing around in the middle of traffic that has stopped for them.

The several people who stop a person who stole a woman’s purse in a crowded subway after she unsuccessfully attempts to chase after him, and then called for help.

The man that jumps onto the tracks of the subway to save another man that has fallen in front of the oncoming train. His children stand on the platform and witness this selfless act.

The young Thai girl just finished servicing her 5th male tourist of the day. She looks down at the creases in her palms, wondering if this is real, or some terrible dream. She thinks of ending all the pain, but out of the corner of her eye, out of the barred window, she sees a tiny yellow flower. She feels a tiny flower blooming in her heart–hope.

The Palestinian man with his children, one on each side of him, their school backpacks bouncing, as they run from Israeli rocket fire. Tears streaming down their faces, clutch to each other in fear. With strict border checkpoints, and without passports, where does he take them to safety?

The Israeli couple who sit in a café in Jerusalem, sharing the events of their day with each other who are blown apart by a suicide bomber. Their unborn child, could she have been the leader that would have brought peace to the region?

The El Salvadorian mother and father that work day and night without end to provide for their children in order for them to have a more promising future. They escaped to the U.S. because their community was slaughtered by the U.S. trained and supplied Salvadoran military. While waiting at the bus stop on the way to work, a passerby throws bottles at them, ordering them to “Go back to Mexico!”

The Afgani girls who continue to go to school every day even though their class mates and teachers have been burned by acid on the way to school by people who don’t want girls or women to be educated.

The little boy sits on the curb in the rain, he is shivering and tears stream down his face. His box of baseball cards and favorite books sit in the gutter, now drenched. His teddy bear clutched under his arm, head in his hands, body shuttering with silent sobs—and no one comes.

The woman who gets on the bus and finds she doesn’t have enough change for the fare, and the three people who come up with the change for her.

The passerby who gives her lunch to the homeless person on the side of the road. Her surviving one day without lunch enables him to survive for one more day.


The beauty of humanity, and the pain.
The ability to see ourselves in every other human being we encounter.
The commonalities that make us all humans: love, pain, dreams, disappointment, fear, enjoyment, laughter, crying.
Small pieces of us in each other.

window to the soul

window to the soul


p.s. This piece was compiled over many years, from real-life experiences and observations, and some from my imagination.
Questions I ask myself:
What is this – and what does it mean?
How are these human connections made? And how are the broken?
How does one make sense of it all?


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