Last night I remembered that today is Lily Tomlin's 75th birthday. Many of my generation remember her from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in, but her body of work over the years has shown her depth and breadth as a character actress.
What always struck and strikes me about her performances, especially her one-woman shows written by her creative and life partner, Jane Wagner, is her ability to project the humanity of each of her vast array of characters. Even if some of them sit in judgment of themselves or others, they are written and portrayed without judgment. Wagner's writing is the perfect vehicle for Tomlin's ability to fully inhabit the characters. Both Wagner and Tomlin compassionately find the essence of these characters, even as the humor (sometimes black humor) and absurdity make us laugh out loud.
A gifted author or actor does not have the exclusive ability to enter into the mystery of the human condition as experienced by different individuals across a broad spectrum. Each of us has the capacity to "get" another individual, to empathize (barring a mental illness that erases the capacity for empathy), despite how much "us-vs.-them-ness" has clouded the lens rhrough which we habitually look at fellow members of our species.
The oftentimes unconscious judgments that we direct not only at others but also ourselves are a good reason to make a conscious decision to look at everyone experiencing the roller coaster ride of being human through the lens of the heart (which some call the eyes of Source).
Thank you, Lily and Jane, for using your creative gifts and art forms to remind us how it's done.