22 February 2012

Needing Need

Thoreau writes, “That day dawns only to which we are awake.” I think he referred to a spiritual awakening because lately I have been arising well before the dawn but I don’t feel very much awake.  It is as I have said quiet and peaceful out here in these early, early morning hours, and I do like to see as the day dawns the color of the air change slowly and perceptively, and then, suddenly, as if a switch had been turned on, it is day. But I have been up for hours, and out there it is still dark, and I feel ready for a mid-morning nap.
I have always risen early. At the beginning, there was school, and school always begins before the business work day. As a teacher I was required to arrive ahead of the students, and public transportation runs on schedules. The 6:41am from Penn Station was my steady ride, and so I awoke at 5:30am to account for my morning ablutions and the anticipation of subway delays.
And then it was my own children who had to early arise and be ready to meet school buses, and I arose early to ensure their preparations. And now that they no longer require my aid, I cannot sleep through the hours when I am used to be awake and active. And now I am just tired.  And when I am tired, I wonder . . .
I’ve been thinking about need. Too much of what I am about to say seems to me now cliché, but I want to express the ideas anyway that I might see them. I think we all have needs, and one of my strongest need is to feel needed. Feeling needed gives me a sense of presence, and announces to myself that I serve a purpose beyond being a mere place-setting, that I am not alone, and that in my absence there would exist not a space but a hole. And to need, too, demands presence, and in the expression of need I declare “I exist, please attend honestly to me,” and I come to exist and offer existence to the other. Of course, too much need moves beyond presence and becomes burden, and perhaps relationship entails finding the balance between expressing and offering need.
Ethics is in part the practice of need.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, too, is meshikhah - in the classroom, in the blog...

23 February, 2012 08:39  

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