Have you ever longed for an identical twin? Someone just like you who would completely understand you, like to do all the things you like to do, be your constant, compatible companion?
(I know very well that all identical twins are not that compatible, but I am speaking here of longings.)
Many years ago when I was living in Durango, I visited an acquaintance. He was still with a client when I arrived, and asked me to wait in his living room where his four-year-old, identical twin daughters were playing. Two lovely little girls with long, dark, curly hair. They seemed to barely notice me, and I sat quietly observing them. From time to time they spoke, but didn’t seem to need to as they created their play together, happily and harmoniously. I was touched by the deep connection between them. Later, their father told me how lucky they were to have been born with their very best friend.
Lily and Rose, identical twins in my upcoming novel The Purest Gold, were like those twins, so close they had telepathic communication, did everything together, and looked so much alike that other people, even their own father, had difficulty telling them apart. They spent their childhood in harmonious oneness. Then adolescence, and the challenges of crossing the country in a covered wagon with their stern, minister father, drew them apart. Their struggle with letting go of each other is the main theme of the novel.
I think of the two little girls that so touched me in Durango years ago and wonder what their relationship is like now that they are in their early twenties.
Not only twins must individuate. Children brought up to have the same opinions and habits as their parents must at some point find their own path. If the parents can’t let go, there is suffering.
Lovers and marriage partners sometimes must go through the same process. Once the first swift passion softens, they may discover that they are not so alike as they thought. Cherishing the differences can lead to an enriched relationship, resisting them can damage the love.
There is a paradox concerning our oneness. The truth on the deepest level is that we are all one, all part of humanity, of creation, all one with the One. The other truth is that we are each unique. There has never before been anyone just like us, nor will there ever be again. Each one of us is an inimitable blend of the colors and vibrations of God’s rainbow. Cynthia Bourgeault in her beautiful book, The Wisdom Way of Knowing, uses another image, speaking of being “a string in the concert of God’s joy. . . . in harmonic resonance with all the other instruments is revealed both my irreplaceable uniqueness and my inescapable belonging.”
Let us rejoice then in those times of harmonious unity with another and also delight in the wonder of our differences.