2 Ramadan 2016: Strangers … The New Support Network

No one is ever really a stranger. We cling to the belief that we share nothing with certain people. It’s rubbish. We have almost everything in common with everyone. – Mark Haddon


From war, disease and poverty to fear, stress and loneliness; our days seem to be more gloomy, no?

At the same time, we are spending more and more time away from those who love us and make us feel better, whether it is because of increased globalization as people study and work elsewhere or because of digitalization that has made our interactions more virtual or simply because we are too “busy”.

We are also spending more time driving on roads, waiting longer for appointments, traveling and catching buses, riding elevators, ordering food, buying products, seeking services, working, etc… with strangers! We are constantly seeing, speaking, and listening to … complete strangers!

The irony is that as we interact with strangers more than ever … and our need for love, care and compassion increases … more than ever,

  • we treat strangers or get treated by strangers with a suspicious eye for one reason or another based on unspoken judgements …
  • we speak to strangers or get spoken to by strangers in a rude and abrupt manner …
  • we cut off strangers on roads or in lines or even when speaking and vice versa …
  • we are sometimes downright aggressive with strangers or are treated with aggression …
  • we all feel entitled, we all feel that we are to be served and not to be of service.

It is ironic because we are all lonely, stressed and afraid and instead of making it better for each other, we make it 10x worse!

The truth is, we are not strangers, we are all in the same boat and as the month of Ramadan blesses us with its many benefits, I can’t help but pray that we start to see each other through the lens of similarity.

I wish that we all treat each other the way we want to be treated and no matter how bad we have it, treating each other politely and respectfully will only result in finding support in the strangest of places!

Politeness is the flower of humanity. – Joseph Joubert

And this is how we can make it count, supporting those we may never see again.

Image courtesy of winnond / freedigitalphotos.net