I used to look at the world through dark lenses. That's the reason I like wearing sunglasses, I suppose. They enable you to reach your destination without looking too closely at what goes on around you. It allows you to center yourself in your own little world and worry about your own life. But I don't think we were put into this world solely to worry about our own lives. Yet, I do it: subconsciously, selfishly, wearing dark lenses.

I watched.

The man fixing a shop window, the mother wheeling her baby in the carriage, the executive hurrying to catch the bus while shouting, seemingly to himself, a strange looking contraption around his ear.

Then there are the people you don't see unless you look closely.

Then there are the people you don't seeThe young mother sitting alone at a cafe table made for two, the middle aged man sitting on the bench, the beggar sifting through the bins—no doubt looking for scraps. I watched as the world carried on without them. Hurrying, unconscious of anyone outside their own little bubble.

The rest of the population seemed willfully unaware of that which annoyed them, that which they cared nothing of.

They were oblivious to the pointedly disapproving look they gave the woman who sat alone, forgetting of the disgusted mutterings issued to the beggar as he reached into the bins.

As I walked into town later on that day I tripped over a dislodged square of pavement. I could feel myself falling and knew it would be my head that reached the floor first. I fought with the air, grasping for something. I felt a man's jacket and with difficulty managed to pull myself upright.

Upon seeing his surprised expression, I hastily began to apologize for my actions. In-between my profuse thanks for letting his jacket save me, he smiled and said: "Don't worry! These things happen..." Then he smiled and walked on. Strange as it may seem, my spirits were lifted slightly.

My spirits were liftedLifted and enhanced by a mere stranger who cared enough to act as though he cared. It may seem a petty thing to be touched by, but I was. And if it gets to the point where a person would be profusely thankful for a stranger acting in a humane and sensitive way then what has happened to our society?

These things happen everyday. I forget to count them. I forget to reflect—everything tells you not to stop, look back, watch what just happened to you. The world tells you to move on and quickly, and in some respect I agree that this is the right thing to do but if you're walking blindly on who knows what you're going to run in to and whether you'll remember what made you get there in the first place?

I realize I could be anyone of those people: the beggar, the lonely man, the woman sitting alone. It could have been me who received that heart clenching look, it could have been who would have heard those whispers of disgust and I whose only cup of coffee was knocked so carelessly because someone had to go and make money. How do I know what my future will bring? It is the single woman's fault that she is divorced? Is it the beggar's fault he had no parents to bring him up? Who am I to think I am any better then any one of those people? Who knows… it could have been me.

And it is my belief that this is what the movement of Lubavitch is all about. Not concerning one's self with who is greater or wiser, for as the Rebbe said many times in his public talks: "How are we to know? Are we G‑d, who can size up a rabbi with a beard against a seemingly irreligious person and decide whom is greater then whom? This is not our job."

Rather our responsibility is to know that each person has a soul—a part of G‑d within him or her, and to bring out that soul and allow it to fulfill its purpose. If someone was created by G‑d then obviously they were created for a purpose and with a potential that it is not always so obvious for an outsider to see. This is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe stressed, to look beyond and within each person. If the Rebbe believed in every single one of us and believed man was given the power to change the world, should I not believe?!

Look beyond and within each perso I walked slowly, deliberately, past the woman at the café. I smiled. She didn't smile back. "Ahh well," I thought, "You can't win them all." To the middle aged man, I said "good morning" in the cheeriest tone I could muster. His eyes, cold and dark, searched me before he looked away. The last time... I pressed a five pound note into the hand of the beggar. He stared through those glassy eyes and, with a slight jolt of surprise, I saw a tear slide out of them. "I haven't had a proper meal in thirty years." he rasped. No way! Did he just say that to me? I thought people said those things in books…in thirty years…I don't think I'll eat another meal without feeling a little guilty.

His fingers clutched the note as if it were his life. Well it was, wasn't it? His lifeline…

It saddened me to see these people, all of whom could be me or you. Solemnly fluttering in and out of reality. Doomed to darkness that only they know, and with feelings as tender as anyone's.

Yet feelings treated the way no human deserves.

It hurts to watch, and brightened me to know that I could have been the first person to smile at each of them. It really made no difference who they were—just the fact that they were human beings made it worth it. There is so much concern over the clash of cultures and religions, but what people don't realize is peace comes from recognizing that someone else is a human being.

I used to look at the world through dark lenses.

But now I look with my eyes. I find that harder. It's easier to pretend that you don't see. Those favors, the small but meaningful good deeds you can do for another person… it's the little things we perceive to be so trivial against the backdrop of our hectic lives that can sometimes mean the most, especially to those stuck in a world of hardship and pain we prefer to think doesn't exist.

Perhaps it's those small acts in our pathways of life that are reminders to care, to make a difference—and isn't that what makes the journey so much more worth it?