A long time ago, I had the opportunity to tour the old Dammasch State Hospital, the largest psychiatric hospital in Oregon. I was still an undergrad student and my impressionable mind was wide open. Our group leader led us into a day room filled with people of varying ages who were obviously out of touch with reality. I admit that this experience was a shocking first-view for me. As we spoke to the residents there, shaking hands and interacting, suddenly I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. Background music was playing, and I was astounded as the loudspeaker began to play “Everything is Beautiful in its own way. . .” I began to tear up as I looked at all these people who had basic human needs similar to my own. They needed affirmations; they needed interactions; they needed basic human contact.
I have never forgotten that experience, and any time I happen across this song, I recall that day vividly. It reminds me to be grateful for the blessings I have in my life. It reminds me how important it is to offer respect and love to everyone I come in contact with—especially those who have been dealt a hand with no aces.
Human beings were not designed to live in isolation. John Donne admonished us that, ‘No man is an island.’ When I view our world as a part of our larger universe and realize that we are all connected by the breath of life, it reminds me not to judge my brother or my sister.
Gratitude encourages us to hold positive thoughts for others. It humbles us to be reminded of our own imperfect humanity, and keeps us from passing judgment on those in whose shoes we have never had to walk.
Play the song that is bound to a vivid experience I have never forgotten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a45z_HG3WU