Sunday, October 7, 2012

Miss Annie and the string

October 6, 2012

Dear friends,

This week my “golden string” did not appear to be anything at all like a golden string. In fact, an event in the life I share with Miss Annie made the string idea of William Stafford and William Blake appear totally irrelevant to daily living, and no fit subject for a blog. The end turned out differently than the beginning, however, which was a good thing.

The event that initially produced such a poor substitute for a golden string was NOT poetic in any form. It resulted from an activity in Miss Annie’s hidden life that, once revealed, left me in a fully developed stage of aggravation rather than a state of contemplation. Further, it left me strongly inclined to initiate a stern conversation with Miss Annie as soon as I could find her, and to restrict her access to the treat jar for two whole days. This is what occurred.

One day while cleaning I discovered that when safely out of my sight and hearing Miss Annie has entertained herself by converting a corner of the sofa in the study into a heavily used scratching post. The sofa, poor thing, has suffered damage that cannot be repaired. It must live out its remaining life carrying its Annie-induced scars. Given this event, what would you predict about the on-going relationship between Miss Annie and me?

Knowing that I have warm affection for this cat that through no choice of her own has come to live with me, some of you may suppose that I will say, “Oh, Miss Annie, it’s only a sofa and this damage doesn’t matter.” There is some truth in that—and I do understand that eternal issues do not hinge around damage to upholstery.

However, others of you who know another side of me may say, “Miss Annie, loved or not, you’ve stepped over the line. You are in big trouble.” And there is truth in that as well: it is not in my nature or thinking to regard Annie’s destructive behavior casually or to ignore it.

Still others of you, those who understand my belief that the test of our theology lies in the everyday events of living, are certain to raise an awkward question: “What do you think you [Gay] need to think about? Granted that flower blubs are more pleasant, suppose that Miss Annie’s destructive behavior is the end of a string (golden or not). Where do you think it leads?”

It leads, of course, to the difficult question of injury in relationships, and to the options that we have in response.

What do you believe are the possible options open to you in response to injury? The desirable responses for you?

You have a bit of time to think about these questions since I will not be back with you until October 21. However, Lori will be with you next week, and I hope will share with you from the experience and wisdom she has gained in living through relationships that injure.

Despite our realistic knowledge of this bent and broken world we often dream of relationships in which love makes pain impossible. Thinking with you that it is difficult to develop skills for handling injury while dreaming of relationships in which injury cannot happen.

You will see Lori next week. I'll see you October 21.


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