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The Beauty of the Whole Person

November 2, 2008

Occasionally when I’m at church certain topics or themes strike me as having an interesting application to the diabetes community. Tonight was one of those nights. For a large chunk of the sermon, our pastor talked about beauty and how we – as humans – have the impossible challenge of trying to understand God and His beauty.

At one point, towards the end of his sermon, he encouraged us to go out and admire beauty in our world – through nature, works of art, museums, etc. But he also reminded us to admire the beauty in people, which I thought was interesting because most people don’t really phrase things like that. In New York City, it’s easy to admire the beauty of certain people – the models and actors and whatnot. There are a lot of pretty people here. Or people talk about how “unusual” people are. The different hairstyles and clothes that people wear, for example. But I could tell the pastor meant the beauty of all people – not just the conventional kind of beauty – and that really resonated within me.

One of the things that I enjoy most about blogging is the fact that I have been blessed with knowing so many different people. People from different places around the world, people of different ages, different religions, different political beliefs. People with and without children. I know more people through blogging than would probably ever be possible to know in real life, or at least not to the extent that I do. Although many of the posts that I read are about diabetes, the posts where people talk about a funny encounter with someone at the supermarket or a conversation they had with their child or some observation about their life are usually my favorites because I am able to see them as a whole person, which I think is so important in the Internet world.

Blogs that I read on a daily basis tend to be about a singular topic, and it really wasn’t until the advent of Twitter that I began to see the “behind-the-scenes” look at what other people are going to. I remember reading the blog and following the Twitter feed of a guy who works in social media public relations, like me, and one day he tweeted that he wasn’t going to an event because he was staying home to be with his kids. I had learned so much from this man because his posts were always so insightful and he’s a talented writer. But he was always traveling and talking about work that I thought “wow, I wonder how his wife could possibly stand him being away so much” and then I realized that he had to balance his life just like any working parent does.

Needless to say, this little tweet that probably no one else even noticed made my image of him that much more complete. I understood who he was a tiny bit more than I did the day before. I could, for a brief moment perhaps, really appreciate the beauty of his whole person – not just a fragment of what I was seeing.

The more I get to know people in real life, the more I realize how important this is. While someone could be a valuable resource on a particular topic, like diabetes or personal finance or fitness or whatever, it isn’t until you start seeing a fuller picture of the person’s life that you start seeing a reflection of yourself within them.

I think this concept of knowing “the whole person” is starting to resonant a little louder within me because most of the people I know are people I know for a particular reason. I know them because they are in the diabetes community or the Christian community or the social media community or the tech community, but there are very few people with whom I feel I understand on a more complete level. I feel the need to explore this further with people, but I’m not entirely sure how. Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll devise a plan to break out of the typical mold of how I define people and truly start to understand the vast nuances of people. I know it’s something I wish that I could express to others, so hopefully there are people who feel the same.

  1. November 3, 2008 6:59 AM

    Thank you for being who you are. This is an awesome post.

  2. November 3, 2008 7:52 AM

    I think it can be hard at times to get to know my online friends in a complete way. I learn about the diabetes. I have my church friends, my work friends, etc. Each is kind of in and to itself. But I’m lucky. I have a great family and a handful of great friends that I have gotten to know so well.
    I will admit that the blogging community sometimes leaves me wanting more. I want to know more about what people are doing or thinking.
    The great thing about beauty is that it’s all around us….it’s just a matter of opening your eyes to see it. 🙂

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