Amim, what happened to your nose? Where are your mouth and ears? Where did your fingers and hair go?
St. Anthony of the desert, in response to a questioner who asked about the purpose of ascetical struggle, once summed it up as an effort “to become yourself.” By this he did not mean selfishly living without regard for other people’s feelings or at the other extreme, by placing the opinion of others above one’s personal integrity.
The story of Amim’s Great Discovery is a strange and beautiful tale with a universal message about the uniqueness of each human being, the hunger for love, and how painful is the fear of rejection in a child’s life.
Amim is a Hebrew word that means “peoples” or “nations”. That includes everyone. Quite appropriate for the character of our story who undergoes the pain caused to all persons who are rejected because people prejudicially see things about them they don’t like, without even getting to know them. This is a UNIVERSAL phenomenon that causes great pain especially in children. Refusing to encounter him on his own terms they prejudicially rejected him. This is also what we do to Christ when we come face to face with our fear of the love of God that comes to us beyond our human precepts and appropriations,
By offering the story in the form of a child, a refugee, from one culture going to another and finding instant rejection, every child can identify with him. Could he be Jewish? Yes. Could he be Syrian? Yes. Could he be Arabic? Yes. Could he be any child from any culture? Most definitely. That is the point.
What then do we see in Amim and his story? By referring to the Mosaic Revealed Holy NAME as an initial quote, we see that the starting point of all peoples is God and we are ALL created in the Image of the One I AM. The letters that spell Amim’s name are also a play on the Divine Name– “AM I M” – hearkening back to the question in each of our souls about who we are and where we come from.
In his search for the OTHER Amim discover a way to be HIMSELF!
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