The Deepest Humans

The Deepest Humans

The other day I was on the bus to Tel Aviv, across the aisle from an American in his 20s. This young man spent the trip scribbling in his journal, and at one point, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that he opened up to a long list divided into several columns. I realized it was a list of countries he had traveled through– about 100 countries throughout South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and now the Middle East. As I glanced over, he was writing the word “Israel” in pale blue ink.

I once heard that there are people in life who go wide and people who go deep. A wide person might mean be a person who travels widely, like my fellow passenger, or excels in a wide-array of subjects, or who has worked at a wide selection of jobs.

And the deep person? Is the person who goes very deeply into a certain experience. And learns everything there is to learn about it. All of its different facets and feelings and stages.

In her TED talk, mother Courtney Martin said something about motherhood that brought tears to my eyes. And it was these words that I thought of when I looked at that young man’s list of countries.

She said, “Labor is a way of knowing. In other words, what we work on in life is what we understand about the world. If this is true, and I think it is, then women who have disproportionately cared for the little ones and the sick ones and the aging ones, have disproportionately benefited from the most profound kind of knowing there is: knowing the human condition.”

And that is why, in a world divided into those who go wide and those who go deep, I believe that some of the deepest people of all are mothers.

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4 comments

  1. Great reflection.

  2. Absolutely love it! I feel like you just described me and I never knew it!

  3. There is a similar difference among scholars of Gemorrah – those that study and are familiar with the breadth of Torah knowledge referred to as “Sinai” also labled Gersa. Those that delve deeply into a particular topic referred to as ‘Oker Harim’ (uprooting mountains) or Iyun. We have to cultivate some of each. But raising children definitely brings a depth to our life experience.

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