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Enlarging Your “I”

I have a friend who often talks about her resolution to be “a bigger I,” meaning becoming more inclusive, more caring, more open to other people. Granted, it can be difficult right now to feel that anything about your life is expanding, other than an uneasy, trapped feeling.

But think about it: Empathy for those on the front lines — that’s enlarging your “I.” Maintaining social distancing, even when it means you’ll miss out on the last rolls of toilet paper in the store — that’s also enlarging your “I.” Everything you do now in the interest of others, in the interest of stemming the tide of this disease, is growing yourself beyond your former boundaries. And that is a good thing.

Though I cannot take up torches
or spears against my enemy,
though I can do no more than Milton,
(stand, wait), though my reaching out
must be touchless, limbless, still,
I stretch the seams of my soul.
Misery lurks and like a sponge
I sip it and, cell by cell, expand.
No one hears, no one sees,
yet empathy moves the mountain,
breaks capital I’s into a rubble of “us.”
Small though we be,
we will hold off the tide.

Originally published in Lori’s blog

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Lori Strawn

Providence Associate Lori Strawn is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Witchita, Kansas. A 1987 graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Lori formerly served on the advisory board for the Providence Associates.

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6 Comments

  1. S. Connie Kramer on May 24, 2020 at 9:37 am

    What a beautiful gift! Thanks Lori.🙏🏻😊👍

  2. Dawn Tomaszewski on May 24, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Empathy moves the mountain…… Amen, Lori! Thanks!

  3. S. Mary Montgomery on May 24, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Stretching the seams of our souls…… Wow! Thank you, Lori!

  4. connie schnapf on May 24, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    You have opened a welcome breeze in my mind and heart. Bless you, Lori

  5. PAULA DAMIANO, SP on May 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you, Lori!

  6. Paula Modaff, SP on May 29, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Empathy…breaks capital I’s into a rubble of we… Enough material for reflection and action for a lifetime. Thank you, Lori

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