Thursday, June 21, 2012

Secrets we live with

OK, so I watch a lot of silly, stupid stuff on-line. The other day I had an opportunity to go to a web site and learn the favorite breeds of cats in the US. Why would I want to see that, you may ask? I asked myself but did it anyway.

The most popular breed of cat is the Siamese, for reasons beyond my ken. Siamese cats are weird looking and have a disturbing cry and slink around too much for me. But, who am I to talk and foist my feelings on others.

Anyhow, the third or fourth most popular breed (I forget which) is the Maine Coon Cat. When I saw the Maine Coon Cat picture I almost fell off my chair. It could have been a picture of our cat, Lukie. Looked just like him. And the description of how friendly and outgoing and gentle those cats are was Lukie to a T.

Luke is a great cat. We used to have four cats, but three of them died in the past year or so and Luke is now an only cat. He loves it. He comes when you call him (something our dog won't do). He has learned from the dog to beg at table. I look down and there they are, both sitting and gazing at my food. He lets our granddaughters maul him and never scratches. He cuddles with us and sleeps on his back with his paws akimbo because it's cute.

A Maine Coon Cat to the Nth degree.

I found Bern and announced, "I think Luke is a Maine Coon Cat," thinking she'd be impressed and surprised.

"Yeal," she said, "of course he is."

Well, why did she know that and I didn't? I've known Bern for 48 years and been married to her for 42 years. Why did she know Luke was a Maine Coon Cat and never told me? Isn't marriage about 'having no secrets?

Well, no it isn't. It's like that horrible thing from the book by Eric Seagle, Love Story, which was the rage back in the 60's and 70's: "Love means never having to say you're sorry...."

Mood music and fade to black. What bullshit. Love ISN'T never having to say you're sorry--Love, real love, love that lasts almost five decades is "abject apology".

And Love is realizing there are 'secrets we live with'.

The Maine Coon Cat is just the tip of the iceberg.

In a healthy relationship secrets are the frosting on the cake of day to day life.

Bumping into a secret, no matter how banal, is the stuff of legend in long term relationships.

We know, deep down, that nobody ever, ever, ever really knows another person. Not even after 48 years.

The secrets we live with are the garlic in the sauce, the salt on the cantaloupe (never put salt on cantaloupe? much your loss), the lemon in the tea. The secrets we live with are the mystery and the wonder and the passion and the awe of love.

Oh, the secrets I have that Bern has never tripped over!

It is a joy when she finds one. But she'll never unconceal them all.

And neither will I find all her secrets. Not ever.

It's the currants in the fruit cake. Know what I mean?

You can live with and love someone forever and never unearth all the secrets we live with. And lavish in.

The remarkable thing is this: it is the stuff we 'don't know we don't know" that is the spice of relationship and love and growing old together.

Ponder that.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.