I had a few minutes of alone time on Wednesday night as I drove to a meeting at my synagogue. My mind always races when I’m in the car, often at the speed at which I’m driving which in this case was 73 … 65 … 56 mph. As I neared my destination, my thoughts turned to the meeting I was about to attend and, for a moment, I pondered how much I enjoy my Rabbi. And for some reason, I got stuck on that phrase:
I use the term all the time when referring to him around others. MY Rabbi. OUR Rabbi. But I never took notice of the possessive. Clearly, I am not the only one who takes ownership of this man when thinking of him. Our entire congregation does. It made me wonder how he feels about “belonging” to all these people. He has a tremendous obligation to fulfill a role while our obligation back to him is not well defined nor understood. I wanted to ask him about this one way ownership – and how he felt about it — but didn’t have a chance that evening. So my 70 mph thoughts returned to this situation on the ride home. And boy did it take me places.
As I reasoned this all out, I realized that MY Rabbi doesn’t have the monopoly on being possessed. I own so many other people in my life – and refer to them in the possessive:
MY colleagues…. the list goes on.
And I am also owned, often referred to as MY _______ (mom, wife, sister, daughter, press person, partner in crime, fill in the blank.)
I realize that I am stating the obvious. But personally, I never thought much about the responsibility that goes with truly owning a relationship (and being owned) until I thought about MY Rabbi and his one way spiritual obligation to the entire congregation. How many of my relationships were one way?
It was a poignant reminder that for those people in my life with whom I have these possessive relationships, I need to own and do my part regardless of what I get back from them. I need to forever earn the privilege of belonging to someone in such as way that they refer to me as MY ________ with the same fondness to which I refer to my Rabbi. Lucky for me (and most of you all), my relationships are far fewer in number and easier to manage than the ones my Rabbi has to own. But they are of no less importance.
As we head into the holiday season – one that is often full of stress and obligation – take some time to do an inventory of the relationships you own — and who owns you. And remember how important it is to take care of the things that we own and do our part for those who rely on us to be that person or play that role in their lives, whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague.
For my part, I am incredibly grateful to you, OUR readers at Mothers of Brothers and Jessie MY blogging partner. I know I speak for both of us when I say that we hope to earn your continued readership in the coming year. Looking forward to 2012 and many thanks for your part in our lives.