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In Ethiopia many many years ago I woke to the sound of chants, prayers, and bells. The sounds were as foreign as the place I was in. It was a strange and beautiful place to me and yet I felt I had been there before. I knew these people and I loved them.

Many came to beg on the streets. My eye caught a beautiful lady dragging one leg behind her while clutching her arm around a homemade crutch. Her headdress was different than the others who wore all white. She draped the royal color purple around her head.

I raised my camera and as I looked through the lens she was looking at me as if she were saying.” Please don’t take a picture of my pain.” I immediately lowered the camera. Our eyes met with such tenderness and love.

It was respect that she taught me with a look. It’s the difference between sympathy and empathy.

To allow others to be where they are without trying to fix it or control respect.