People fascinate me.
How they reveal themselves in quiet moments.
How they let you glimpse their souls in the stillness.
How they cry and flirt and forget and giggle and celebrate and grow and care.
How they hurt each other and love each other and forgive each other.
How vulnerable they are when you know what to look for.
How strong they can be when put to the test.
How they get it or they don’t.
How they hide themselves and wear masks. And feel scared. Or not enough.
But they are. They are everything but don’t know it.
How they live out their dreams. Or fantasize about them to get through the day.
How you can love them and hate them and trust them and feel betrayed by them.
How they disappoint you.
How they make you better.
How they hand you their hearts and fill yours.
How they become family. How they become strangers.
How they hold your hand and give you strength even when they are thousands of miles away.
How they can say things that change your day and your perspective and your soul.
How they make you see yourself through their eyes.
How they become mothers and fathers. And husbands and wives. Women and men. Instead of the kids you once knew. How they change and how they stay the same.
How beautiful they are in their ugliness.
How they surprise you and delight you and make you cackle when you least expect it. Or need it the most.
How they look at you with love or fear or desire or judgment or contempt. And then look away.
How they want more. How they settle for less.
How their gifts are their curses.
How complicated or simple or tragic or blissful their stories are.
How they ache.
How their quirks are endearing in ways they will never quite get.
How they try to connect. Need to connect. Fail to connect.
How they want to know you. Or think they know you. Or do know you. Sometimes better than you know yourself.
How human they are.
All these people I cross paths with. Everyone. The waiter at the restaurant. The friend who I’ve known forever. The friend who I just met but feel like I’ve known forever. My mother. My love. They fascinate me.
I try to understand them. To touch their hearts. To make it better. Because they inspire me and make me feel alive. When I watch them and see how they are and who they are.
This is my life. These people are my life.
They are what I believe in.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.