Sunday, August 19, 2018

2018.08.19 Two Sisters In a Basket?

Here is a poster by Maggie Meredith, Nantucket artist and poet (1922-2012). I have stared at it and smiled for some years. It reminds me of a feline version of me and my sister.
The poster hangs in the living room of our little timeshare cottage in Nantucket—the one Dick and I purchased in 1985 just before we were married in November, 1986. We change, our little cottage stays the same.

My interest in this poster is that it is expressive and whimsical. The kitties remind me of me and my younger sister Laurie—our personalities and different stances towards life. It cracks me up.

The white one looks alert and ready to pounce with a purr or a claw at whatever she has to do to manage things at a moment’s notice. Sometimes she pounces or springs into action too soon. When this happens it can be, well, messy or aggressive, though always well-intentioned. She protects people or defends them against injustices. That’s her strength and can be heroic, like a “knight in shining armor.”  Sometimes her power overwhelms.

I am more like the black kitty. I am just as alert but more worried about things in general, and sometimes about my sister’s ardor, especially if she is trying to protect me, and especially if I don’t need it. My ways are more cautious, considered, wise.

Sometimes I wait too long to jump in with assertions or actions, but when I do, I am focused and persistent, like the time over 20 years ago when Laurie and I collaborated on a book, and the publisher accepted my prose but not her poetry. I knew it would hurt my sister, but, after consulting with many people and praying like crazy, I accepted the publishing offer. Laurie felt left behind and crushed, her assumptions being that we were at work on our relationship, getting closer. I felt selfish and selfish-er, assuming we were at work on a book only. Our relationship suffered great pain and wounding I imagined was inflicted by me on her. Our needs were very different, though we didn’t know it then.

Many times we have fought over our differences; broken our relationship; striven to heal; tried to understand, and wounded our relational esteem. I have envied her, and she me. We are now able to tussle and burble, giggle and grin, then, sighing, sink into old age free of the stink and stench of envy or competition—dark forces that have shadowed our love and obscured the grace of God in our midst.

Still, we are in the same basket together, so we’ve tried to fight hard—and honestly. We’ve tried even harder to reconcile—honestly. It only took 70+ years.

Laurie uses her power wisely; I use my wisdom powerfully. Both of us agree that our efforts have paid off, and both of us are grateful to the God of our Christian faith whose Love heals all wounds and cares for each of us exactly as we are.