More Embrace

Keeping with a theme here after my post pointing you last night to Pope Francis's embrace and kiss of a severely disfigured man, I just saw this over the Huffington Post:

This man has it.

When Isaac Theil let a sleepy stranger take a little catnap on his shoulder, it was because "I simply remembered the times my own head would bop on someone’s shoulder because I was so tired after a long day," he recounted to Tova Ross of Tablet Magazine.

Another subway rider was so struck by Theil's nonchalant empathy that he snapped a picture and put it on Reddit... Redditor Braffination wrote, "Heading home on the Q train yesterday when this young black guy nods off on the shoulder of a Jewish man. The man doesn't move a muscle, just lets him stay there. After a minute, I asked the man if he wanted me to wake the kid up, but he shook his head and responded, 'He must have had a long day, let him sleep. We've all been there, right?'"

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7 thoughts on “More Embrace”

  1. While the pictures of the pope are incredibly striking, I have been very surprised and a little concerned at the attention given to this 'story'. The fact that it has been treated as worthy of so much attention and even as characteristic of a remarkable level of virtue makes me wonder whether we have really lost perspective. Surely this action should be something that is treated as such a commonplace and normal display of human decency that it is not something that calls for our attention (I am sure that I am not the only person who has done the same thing on a couple of occasions before). The fact that it doesn't seem to be regarded this way worries me.

  2. I think because it isn't all that common and normal, especially among the powerful, but even among the general population.

    Relevant to the subject of Unclean, disfigurement is a disgust trigger (likely for evolutionary/adaptive reasons). Pulling away is the reflex. That's what is normal and natural. But to lean in and kiss disfigurement? I don't know where in the world that's commonplace and normal.

  3. I was referring to the story in this post. I can definitely understand why the pope images are most powerful and remarkable, but this really does seem to be the sort of thing that I would have thought would be so common as not to attract much notice at all.

  4. I see. Sorry about the confusion. But even here, I don't think this sort of thing is all that common. Allowing a stranger to fall asleep on you. Especially across racial lines. And, yes, that could be something to worry about. Or feel sad about.

  5. I think that Pope Francis will be transnational like Pope John XXIII. There is not another religious leader in the world that is calling Christians to follow Jesus' example in ministry to the poor. Conditions have gotten so polluted in this country that politicians can't even use the word (unless it is critical) without being belittled. The latest heresy I've heard from the fundamentalists is that if we helped the poor we might commit the terrible sin of helping to create dependence.

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