Tuesday, March 4, 2014

inundation of witness

To love as another subject who has freedom.
We must give and receive of ourselves.

We can never perceive the inside of a human being.
Which I think is sort of a humbling realization.
No matter how far our empathy extends, we will never be able to truly get inside of someone else and experience all the swirling, whirling emotions, decisions, and life inside of them.

Perhaps this leads to the messiness of life.
The messiness of people misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misreading one another.
If we could read each others' minds then we would never have what they call "drama."
Which is just 21st century lingo for Living with Other Humans.
If you're going to go off into the wilderness and be an anchorite, alone except for the ravens that bring you food, then you probably won't have to deal with any "drama."
The 99% of the rest of humanity, however, will deal with "drama" on a daily basis.
Because living with other human beings means that the strangest, silliest, saddest interactions take place between us on a daily basis.
Some of us use humor to navigate our way through these situations, some of us just write all the crazy drama we witness into plays (thus the art of theatre was born), and the real saintly few among us are really good at communicating with other people and listening to them, and those are the ones that keep the world turning each day.

And that's how the human family works.
And like it or not, we're all a part of that.
Because none of us, really, is a Single person.
I don't know how or when we decided that an unmarried person was Single.
Perhaps we decided that the words Bachelor and Spinster were too loaded with negative stereotypes and unflattering social connotations.
But I don't think we did ourselves any favors by scrapping those words for the wholly lonesome and inaccurate label of "Single."
For, good gracious, unless you've been keeping company with the anchorites in the Egyptian desert, you have never met a person who exists all on their own, free from attachments to all other humans.
Goodness, even the anchorites had mothers and fathers.
There is no such thing as a Single person.
A person adrift, an island floating through the vast sea of life, without another person to latch onto.
Because to be a human being necessarily means that you are made up of two people, and really, all the millions of people that went into making those two people.
Being a human being means that immediately upon your entrance into the world you inherit a whole host of tangled human relations and connections for which you did not even ask.
Human connection is not something we get to pick and choose, or something that we have to earn.
It is thrust upon us the very moment we enter the world.
And so I don't know who decided we should call people Single, or when this unfortunate moniker gained widespread use.
A more laughable misnomer I've never heard of since.

Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence -- priceless and irreplaceable.
 ― Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved

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