Lessons in Humanity

“Not all of us can do great things.
But we can do small things with great love.”
~Mother TeresaBuddhist Nun, Preah Khan temple - Siem Reap, Cambodia

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

Mosque keeper, Lucknow

“There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

Lone Lady, Paris

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

Restaurant helper - Kolkata

God doesn’t require us to succeed,
he only requires that you try.”

Rickshaw Puller, Kolkata

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”

Homeless man - Kolkata

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

Sisters from the Missionaries of Charity foundation helping a sick man into a taxi.

“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

Mother Teresa's tomb at Motherhouse.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

108 thoughts on “Lessons in Humanity

  1. Gosh, I love this beautiful post. That first quote I have up on my wall. You know something funny? My partner can’t stand that quote – he’s a man and men think that they should be creating big, important things 😉 Us women, we know better – it’s in the everyday, little things where the greatness resides xo

    1. I agree. Couldn’t think of a truer representative of the theme. Thank you for reading and for the share Colline.

  2. Mother Teresa’s quotes really target the human condition of loneliness all around us. Acting out of love is the greatest gift anyone can give. The smile on the young boy’s face hopefully brings joy to those around him.

    1. It did to me Lynne. That unforgettable smile is proof that you don’t need much to be happy. In fact I am convinced having too much is a sure cause for boredom! 🙂
      Hope Paris is treating you well 🙂

  3. Madhu, I’m speechless. The photos are stunning (as always) and the quotes that go along with them are so raw and beautiful. Gorgeous gorgeous entry my friend!

  4. For some reason, the exit the taxi photo stands as my favorite, and the quote — surprised to see, from Mother Teresa

    1. The lady in the white is a sister belonging to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. Witnessing her legacy of compassion in action was deeply moving.

  5. I feel sadness for some of the people you have lovingly captured, and great respect for others. I am very privileged to have health, companionship and relative wealth. I wonder how I can spread these things where they are lacking. Thank you for provoking thought and gratitude on a Saturday morning.

    1. Meg, I am just the messenger of those profound words! But thank you for reading. Yes, some of the people above are sad, but on average i am amazed by the capacity for happiness among the very deprived. Always humbling.

  6. This is such a lovely post, Madhu. Your photos of people are very eloquent on their own. Pairing them with Mother Teresa’s words made them soar. Mother Teresa is one of the wisest women to come along in my lifetime. 🙂

  7. A fabulous, moving post Madhu. With all the wars and atrocities being reported in the world today, it can sometimes feel so easy to lose sight of humanity; we forget that our allies and enemies, victims and perpetrators are all people in the end. Your portraits are paired so perfectly with Mother Teresa’s quotes. I hope more readers around the world get to see this.

    1. Thank you for your kind words James. You are right. Traveling especially opens our eyes to the fact that people are just people anywhere in the world, eking out a living as best they can. And that poverty and loneliness isn’t restricted to third world countries. Wish we weren’t hell bent on destroying each other.

  8. Considerando la casualità con cui si fanno le fotografie e l’unione che tu hai fatto con le parole di Madre Teresa significa solo che nel cuore hai una grande ricchezza.

    1. Very kind of you Popof! Every single one of these ‘ordinary’ people made compelling subjects that were impossible to ignore. They are telling their stories….I am just the messenger 🙂

      1. Thank you Judy. That boy helped serve tables and pack rotis at the little restaurant. His dazzling smile was especially poignant because he reminded me so much of my grandson.

  9. I loved this collection of quotes, Madhu. The perfect person to bring to mind with the prompt of “humanity”.

  10. I can’t think of a better messenger to send us a lesson in humanity than Mother Theresa. Touching images, Madhu.

  11. Wonderful and very truthful set of quotes from an inspirational lady, Madhu. Your photos compliment them perfectly. The only one I can come anywhere near is smiling as much as I can. 🙂

  12. Madhu, it’s great to be able to get back to reading your posts. These are beautiful pictures and great quotes as well. Wonderful post.

  13. Beautiful clicks and such wise quotes from the Mother to compliment them. I just wrote a post using one of her quotes and then stumbled upon this post. Lucky me! 🙂

  14. Are these your photos, Madhu? They are absolutely extraordinary, and so beautifully matched with the quotes. They make me feel ashamed and inspired all at once —

    1. Yes Judith, these are my photos. I couldn’t think of better words than Mother Teresa’s to describe how I felt when I clicked them! Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  15. really enjoyed my visit to this post. Mother Teresa was a wise woman. had the privilege of hearing her speak when she came to Vancouver for the Habitat meetings more years ago than i care to admit 🙂 (can that really have been 1976? i must have just been born, lol)
    humanity – where is it? i think it is one person at a time making a difference, or making a contact. or, as MT said, sharing a smile. in my travels throughout Germany i have found that many transactions and connections are simply business-like. no small-talk or smiles between the customers and the cashier or post office teller.
    and yet it was interesting to see how one of my aunts there made it a point to say hello and smile, and it always added a pleasantry to the business transaction that was more than just being polite. and over time people would know who she was, and the small talk was delightful.
    and it has had an impact on me. part of my job requires being on a phone queue which includes incoming calls from a partnering business. whenever a new agent calls in that i haven’t heard from before and they start right in with their questions, i always ask, ‘who am i speaking to?’ before continuing. the person on the other line is that – another person. i have not yet found anyone objecting to that touch of humanity, and it adds something to the phone calls, and over time laughs are shared, some news about travel abroad or news events, or how our pets are doing. and it only takes up a few seconds. simply a touch of humanity.
    so many thanks to my aunt who was such a great role model. those few seconds make my job so enjoyable.

    1. Thank you for that lovely thought provoking comment! I agree, the human element seems to have eroded at some point. The number of people who do not make eye contact or cannot be bothered to even greet you, seem to be proliferating. it is up to thoughtful people like your aunt – and you – to revive humanity with that personal touch. My husband does most of his marketing on the phone and he too insists on knowing each of his customers, as well as their secretaries/ assistants, by name. The animated discussions on cricket and politics that ensue with some of them is always amusing to me! 🙂

  16. Never easy to take photographs that can match up to those powerful quotes. Each of your images does full justice to the beauty of those words. Thank you for sharing, Madhu.

      1. Glad you enjoyed it Madhu. Now maybe you understand why one never “gets over” Africa! 🙂
        Take care

  17. Wow. How beautiful pictures and quotes! So inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  18. I was really moved with this post – I wish I could have been filming my face because I know I felt different highs with each photo – wonderful capture of humanity – 🙂 ❤

  19. Mother Teresa calms my soul. I could read about her and study her quotes for hours. I’ve missed your wonderful posts. Hope all is well and that you’re safe and happily absorbed in a new adventure!

    1. Yes, the problems people face across the world are universal, as are their aspirations. Thank you for reading Nandini.

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