There is a basic desire on the part of every man and woman to understand others and to be understood by others. To understand and to be understood is a basic ingredient of society, without which your life and mine becomes empty and without hope.
Each of us wants to be cared for, to be loved, to be seen, to be sustained by knowing that we are held in the thoughtful attention of others. We want to be cared for and loved not by others in general but others in particular. We want to know that we are cared for by Joe, and by Emily, and not just by the office or the congregation or the neighborhood.
We want to know that —no matter how heavy the burden we carry, no matter how hard may be the stretch of road on which we are traveling—we are not alone. We want to know that we are being thought of and being cared for, and we want to know this enough to avoid the fear and panic of carrying our burden and walking our stretch of road alone.
To be aware of the fact that we are thought of and being cared for is the very moment that life becomes personal. It is the moment when the individual becomes a person. To know that we are not alone, that we are cared for and thought of, by Joe, by Emily, helps us realize that we must be worth something, that we do, indeed, amount to something. Because Joe is concerned and takes thought of you or me, because Emily is concerned and takes thought of you or me, the way is cleared for us to experience our own spirit.