I have to admit; we had a totally different plan for the blog today. But my wife and I were walking back from lunch and saw a miracle. A genuine Christmas miracle.
The college we work at is on Broadway, right across from the famous statue of the Wall Street Charging Bull.
Although we walk by it almost every day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the statue in full. There are ALWAYS throngs of tourists crowded around, climbing over it, and pushing against each other for a decent picture. It looks like a crowd rushing the field after the Super Bowl.
Then today…we are walking back to the office after lunch and we see something truly bizarre. The full statue! In plain sight, right in the middle of Broadway, with no obstructions! There is one couple standing next to it, getting their picture taken by a stranger.
Since the statue attracts a crowd in all seasons and weather conditions, I wondered what was going on. Just to the north of the statue, I saw one of the most surprising things I’ve seen since moving to New York. The tourists had (independently) formed a single-file line so that everyone could take their turn getting a full picture of the statue.
The people in that line must have formed it themselves. There is nobody out there controlling tourists, which is why it is usually so nuts. But this group decided to take matters in their own hands and form order rather than live in chaos.
Most of the time, everyone comes with his or her own agenda. They are impatient, annoyed, and completely focused on ME. They want to see the statue and they want to see it now. And the result is a mass that ruins the experience (and pictures) for everyone.
The crazy thing is: each person wasn’t just letting others have a clear view; they were getting one themselves! The order that came from having a WE There made for a better experience for each individual.
When we get tunnel vision and focus solely on ME, we will rant and rave about the circumstances. We won’t do anything to change them, but will complain about them and fight to get the most we can for ourselves in the midst of the chaos. We are afraid if we let them in, we will get pushed out.
But the best way to find purpose for ourselves is to find purpose collectively. Every person who had the patience to wait in that line (it wasn’t even that long!), got a clear picture of the entire statue that is the envy of every individual who has visited it and participated in the competing mass.
In the midst of the holiday season, this is a wonderful picture of what humanity could be. Working together is not just for the common good; it is the best practice for each of us. These Wall Street tourists had to trust one another and work together. In the end, everyone was better off. The true spirit of Christmas. A miracle of perspective and practice.