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If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you! —Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk
The first time I read this quotation, my eyes crossed! In fact, I read it a couple of times to understand what the good rabbi was trying to say. (I must assume that he wrote it with some amusement.)
But the actual meaning that I deduce from his words is powerful and a reminder that no matter how we try to isolate ourselves and our connection with others, deep or superficial, long-term or recent, they touch our hearts, minds, and souls in a way that is impossible to measure.
My close friends remind me ongoingly what it means to be a caring person. Even though I can often be self-absorbed, they are role models for opening up to others who are in need or require a sympathetic ear. The influence of these friends has made me a better person, and made my life richer as a result.
And, for instance, I think of the beautiful, young black woman who staffs the desk at our gym; she brightens my day. She always greets me warmly, and is so encouraging as I get myself back into shape. Although I am already self-motivated, her enthusiasm and joy in seeing me working hard touches my heart, and I always look forward to seeing her smiling face.
So indeed, I am I, and she is she, but in some indescribable way, we have melded who we are into a connection that for us, is unique and healing.
[photo from unsplash.com]Published in