What makes me unique? Everything about me I share with humanity. There is no feeling, experience, desire, craving, anger, and indifference I express that no one else doesn’t. I have no physical features I don’t share with the rest of the population. And I possess nothing that others don’t have. My job, my home, my family and my God are not unique to me alone. So what makes me unique? Why my very presence. When I am recognized I am affirmed that I am unique. No matter what my strengths and weaknesses might be, as long as you recognize me I am unique. Thus I am unique in relation to you and to others, I am unique to my God; and He alone provides for my uniqueness. I know that I am not anything else but me. And I live, love and share because of it. I am sometimes loud, I am sometimes quiet; but I am always unique underneath.
And so I share my uniqueness with you. But I am apprehensive. I am not sure you want to welcome my uniqueness. You have met others like me who have frightened you, or angered you; and you don’t want to be reminded of that, so you shun me. You withhold your uniqueness from me while you put me at arms length. Avoiding at all costs, the recognition I need to be unique. My uniqueness is diminished and I suffer. I am not the person who frightened you, and I certainly didn’t make you angry; in fact, I am not! I have become the they you fear and the they you hate and exist only within the prejudice you bear them. My uniqueness cannot welcome you. It cannot invite you in. And it cannot interact with your life in any way. I am no longer me. My I becomes the impersonal they that makes you frightened or angry.
So I recoil in ignorance. I do not understand why I cannot be unique. I do not understand why our two I’s cannot become we. Do matter how I try to announce my uniqueness, it cannot break down the barrier you have erected. And ultimately I give up. I walk away in utter despair. My defeat stifles my uniqueness and I no longer wish to share it. I feel ashamed and upset that you refuse to recognize it and I withdraw to lick my wounds.
“When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt 5:23-24) Only then will I regain my uniqueness.