Strange is Our Situation

Ronit Sherwin

I keep a journal of readings, poetry and various quotes that I have found to be personally meaningful and powerful. I glanced through this journal today and happened upon the following: “Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That man is here for the sake of other men . . . ” (Albert Einstein). I realized why I turned to my journal today, for it was to come upon this very thought.

One of my greatest blessings and also one of my “curses” is that I am a deep thinker. Not much passes through my mind without intense thought. And lately I have been unsuccessfully trying to understand the state of my life. Why are things the way they are? How did I end up doing what I am doing? To where is my next journey? What are the impacts of the various souls, living and no longer, that have come into my life?

Albert Einstein had it right. He did not try to answer the larger questions of divine purpose, yet instead he focused on the present, the day-to-day relationships between human beings. That is where meaning and understanding is found. And most significantly, it is from other human beings that we gain support to be, grow and thrive into who we are.

The other day I was asked to share my “Jewish journey” with a group of college students. In telling my story, I noticed that turning points in my life transpired from a particular relationship, be it a mentor who encouraged me or a new friend was made that led to a later life change. In my own work, I do not view my successes as program accomplishments and dollars raised, but as impact on lives and personal relationships built.

Yes, our situation here on earth is pretty strange, but a lot of the people are pretty cool.