“The ancient sages taught that there are four basic kinds of people. The first person says, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.’ This kind of person is wicked and selfish. The second says, ‘What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is yours.’ This is a generous person, a saintly person, a person to be admired. The third says, ‘What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.’ Not too generous but not too selfish either. And the fourth says, ‘What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.’ The sages called this kind of person an ignoramus.” (Rabbi Manis Friedman)
We can never take people and their kindness for granted. It is true that we can only form our very closest relationships in life with people whom we trust, whom we know to be generous and kind, so that there can be a mutual give and take, mutual respect, a shared journey with love. And it is true that there are some non-negotiable needs that both parties in a close relationship need to meet for each other in order for it to work. But the people who love us deserve most of all for us to recognise their generosity, not as our right but as their kindness. They will not force us to recognise that, but we need to. A person’s gifts should always be in their power to give, and they should always feel comfortable to say when they are unable to give, otherwise pain and possibly resentment will begin to hurt them and also the relationship.
With help, a God-fearing person can say to the people around them whom they trust deeply, “What is mine is yours and what is yours is yours.” It is a joy to give, and it is also a joy to receive things that aren’t expected or deserved. Both love and respect begin to grow when we see and receive this. And if we are close to a person who truly says this and means it from their heart, and does it to the best of their ability, then besides feeling deeply thankful we need to look out carefully for kindnesses that we can give to their hearts, in their lives… and to make sure they are free to ask for what they need. We should also keep looking out for the needs that they might not want to bother us by expressing.
At the deepest part of our essence, there is no one with us but Hashem… it is that deep an experience to be created by Him… He comes first and His path comes first. But every part of the journey can be shared with humans who also look to Him, and it is so real and special to learn from each other and to have friendship, family, companionship, kindness, and love in this world!