Is Reality Apparent?

Karen Olson Johnson
Published on: January 2013
How do we rely on our perceptive capabilities to determine the choices we make in life? When we perceive the world around us and within us, how do we respond to the information and the situa-tions we find ourselves in, day in and day out? As these capabilities seem to differ among us, we ask ourselves the question, "Why are some people in touch with others' feelings and needs, and some others among us so out of touch?" Perhaps an answer to this question can be found in this true story.

On a very dark and cold winter morning, my husband, Charles, was on his way to work at 5:30 AM. This kind of winter cold sends the shivers into your boots and your frozen breath forms miniature ici-cles on your moustache hairs. He and his fellow worker, who was driving, stopped their truck at a gas/petrol station. This was their routine almost every morning - drive close to the work site and then stop for a warm cup of coffee and some pastry.
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On one particularly frigid morning, the station they stopped at was very brightly lit up and looking to be a beacon of warmth. They rushed in out of the cold and purchased their morning fare. Stepping back into the freezing air outside, the two men were greeted by a huge, muscular, tattooed man walking up to them from the alley next to the store. My husband's coworker turned and hurried into the warm truck and locked the doors behind him. Meanwhile, Charles greeted the man with, "Morning." The stranger responded with the same and then a conversation ensued. Seems this man had just gotten out of prison. He showed Charles his prison release papers.

Presently, he had nowhere to stay and had not eaten in quite a while. Charles gave him his coffee and doughnut and the last five bucks he had in his wallet.

I asked Charles how he knew that this guy's story was true. He said it was apparent by what he saw in him. What did he see that was apparent? What did he see that was unapparent to his co-worker? One man reached out and established a connection. The other man did not. Do we see what we want to see? Is it a matter of perception whether the vision we construct or the connection we share is apparent to some and is unapparent to others? What per-ceived reality do we live in?
These questions and their answers inform and transform our very matter - right down to the core. These questions also define our world on a micro and macro level. How can we be so out of touch with each other's needs? Are we making collective judgments about those needs which are ultimately defining the kind of world we live in? The inspiration to respond as Charles did is only one minor thought, one small decision away from what could have been for this man a harsh reality of indifference. What did Charles' inspiration and response do for this man?

A bigger question may be this. In what way was the world changed with the step from a reality apparent to one person, which was bridged by inspiration to connect to another person?
On a scale of 1-10, how inspiring did you find this article?