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The Chameleon

Sitting at lunch today with a good friend and colleague, she mentioned with a certain sense of pride that she has learned to be like a Chameleon.

When I asked her what she meant by that, she said that, with her extensive training and a Masters in Psychology, she is able to read the body language of any individual in a room and adjust her behavior to mimic and connect with them, each according to their specific nuances.

My immediate reaction was somewhat incredulous and in retrospect, a little judgmental. “Chameleons strike me as spineless animals who change colors according to their environment just to avoid falling prey to potential predators. They are fearful of standing on their own”. She did not look to disagree with my perspective, but I sensed that there was more to this Chameleon than met the eye.

When I got home, I read up on this fascinating, distinctive and highly specialized species of lizard. It turns out that color change does have functions and benefits in camouflage from predators, but is most commonly used in social signaling and in reactions to temperature and other conditions!

There are so many aspects to G-d’s creations. It is true that one must seek to protect themselves from potential predators, and that may entail making oneself scarce when surrounded by danger. More importantly however, we should utilize these incredibly specialized senses as gifts to develop ourselves and enhance the relationships we have with the people around us, for they are truly worth changing color for!

So thank you for being a Chameleon. You have taught me so much, including a good dose of humility.


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