Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Love's Litmus Test

When there is summer and there is no wind it feels like 1000 degrees.  Today is exactly one of those humid summer days where the air feels close.  Where our skin feels like it is melting into space and that there really is no space between our body and what always seemed like space before.  It is as if we are swimming in a summer soup of body and hair and skin and air and space and room.  Room.

Now I will say I am drinking a Lemon Drop Martini made with fresh berries and squeezed lemons and Mango Vodka (purchased at the Duty Free in Saint Kitts in the Lesser Antilles where I was conveniently stranded during an early February snow storm this winter) and Triple Sec.  All perfectly shaken and chilled with lots of ice on this close hot sultry summer evening in Western New York in early July.

I just finished a seven mile bike ride with my eldest son who is now 15 and a High School Sophomore in September.  I don’t actually think about how much I love these rides with him and our conversations, but now that I am writing this essay I realize how grateful I am for the ease of our communication as we both face forward riding into the summer air on this July day.  We just start talking to each other freely without agenda.  My usual worries and concerns which may very well seem like a rant to him at times, as they ought to, since he has had some serious lapses in judgment where school was concerned his first year in high school – the transition and high school learning curve was quite steep and I am still mystified on how a boy of his high intelligence could let good grades slip through his proverbial high school fingertips.  Despite all this, mom and son ride into space facing forward and the words just flow. 

I do confide in my eldest son quite a bit I think because I don’t have a partner living with me.  I lean on him like I might a husband at least as far as figuring out certain household issues or other life matters are concerned. And he is deliberate in his thinking and analysis and very considerate in his responses. 

Our conversation this evening orbited around creation versus evolution.  Recently he said to me during a rather difficult week of my life mainly having to do with the one I love needing space and me needing closeness.  Funny how someone we love saying they need space suddenly equates in our mind to ‘I don’t love you anymore.’  We may feel so confident in one moment, and then we feel deflated, and even worse, completely unlovable and worthless when the one we love turns away from us even if for a day or week.  Our ego can so fixate and cling to the other as if all the oxygen we ever needed is being provided by that one alone. 

I said to Kailen even this evening that there are three people in my life right now that if something happened to them and they were taken away from my life that I would feel I could not live without them.  Kailen said, “Well mom that tells if you are really in love with someone.  It is the In Love Litmus Test.”  And as we rode on through space I thought to myself about that for a moment.  And I said but I know I love so many other people but could somehow live on without them and how is that possible.  I then became aware that it is because of the clinging my mind and heart have to those three.  I am fixed on them like they are my true north.  And that may be the definition of true love but it is also the definition of fixation.  We both agreed and rode on. 

So as we moved through space so did our dialogue.  Kailen has shared a little secret about deliberate contemplative conversation.  Sometimes he has an idea he is formulating and he decides not to share until the idea or concept has gelled in his own mind.  I often thought if a man I loved held something from me he was holding his love from me.  It took years, really decades to realize that it is a sign of intelligence to give some consideration to thoughts or feelings and how to express them cogently in words before just simply spewing them forth. Or, it is just a different way, equally good.  And that I, too, have held back when I wasn’t sure how to quite put something out there into the world.  Now sometimes it is courageous to wait and sometimes courageous to deliver the message on the spot.  It is a matter of discernment.  And you can be sure that we will not always get it right and that is okay.   

We sort of blended the idea of creationism and evolution into a radical idea that probably neither camp would be too crazy about, neither the scientists nor the dogmatic believers would accept as a possible scenario.  There seems to be a gap in the evolution scenario somewhere between the hominids of the Neanderthals and the homosapiens and this, from the standpoint evolutionary biology, has not been bridged or reconciled.  What if there was a creator and that creator was simply a more intelligent life form from somewhere off in the cosmos, the great vastness of space beyond our planet but not beyond our own minds?

Our ride ended with that thought and I poured myself a martini and continued sitting in the quiet of this stunningly close July evening.

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