The nurturer. The rescuer. The teacher, the student. The victim. The giver, the receiver, the peacemaker. The questioner, the helper, the friend, the healer. The knight. The maiden. The prophet, the disciple, the savior. The leader, follower, member, non-member, believer, employee, stranger, child, parent...
Human relationships are complex with intricate combinations of all different roles. They shift constantly depending on the situation, the context, the Other with whom we find ourselves. Face to face. Some people aspire to certain roles. Other people seem to embody them, instinctively. Some have them thrust upon them. Whether one aspires to it or assumes it through cultural conditioning or unspoken interpersonal expectations, something is somehow lost when a person is reduced to a mere functionality for another, even if it is a purely benevolent functionality. When we reduce another human being to a particular role or set of roles, or when we allow the same to happen to ourselves, we fail to truly acknowledge the humanity, the divinity, which is the actual substance which simultaneously binds us to one another and elevates our souls.
If we were to look at ourselves throughout the day or week or across the span of our lives, it would seem we were nothing but a series of different roles. "What are WE, then?" pup asks me.
I don't know. It's a mystery. We cannot know what we are - what anyone else is - any more than we can pin down what God is, what absolute truth is. We may get a sense of its existence. We may observe it indirectly or even directly. But to attempt to bestow form to any of these while in this unformed state ourselves is simply childishness and arrogance.
Years ago, I wanted to know God. A wise friend told me "You must know yourself, Katie. You must love yourself."
That is a self outside of roles, outside of affirmation or involvement. A self wholly unknowable and therefore unloveable. And yet somehow we do the impossible every day. We know the unknowable and love the unloveable every time we acknowledge the mystery that we are, that everything is.
Ain't that the truth?