I have often pondered misogyny, man’s resentment towards the feminine, whether it be rooted in maternal neglect, the trauma of divorce, or the frightening power of so called radical feminists, those women who resent man. I have wondered if beholding Mary, the only sinless woman, is the only possible solution for hurting men.
I think it’s significant that Hope Himself rested in the arms of a woman.
My own resentments have not been against mankind.
They have been against those very institutions who claim to be set up to help those who suffer, but under whose auspices I know one will only find grief. This past week I went seeking help from a therapist referred to me by Project Rachel.
Afterwards I realized this woman was like looking at Mary for me.
Through this one woman I saw the natural, simple, and honest compassion that was supposed to be intrinsic to the profession of psychology all along.
I was there with regard to the abortion my mother had around fifty years ago.
At one point I tried to express to her the urgency I felt at finding out the details about my aborted sibling. Twins do not run in my family genes that I know, but I have even started to wonder if I am a twin survivor.
This therapist liked to ask why. Why do you think this or that is important to you? Can we unpack that?
That sort of thing.
As I got in the car I thought how it’s like someone recently reminded me I lost something, a long time ago. Now I’m trying to see the person connected to that grief. I not only have been carrying around my mother’s suppressed grief and imposed guilt my whole life, as her live birth, but also carrying around a personal loss. I’ve been subconsciously aware of this my whole life, but can’t see the face to whom the feelings are connected.
Now I know I need and have a right to see that little face, identify my own grief, to move forward.
I have two dogs that I love very much.
I remember the day my daughter and I went to the pound to adopt them. They were two, almost full grown pups kept in a cage together. They were of the same mother, a beagle, the last two of her litter. They were keeping the puppies in a separate cage from the mother at this point. When I asked why the shelter employee explained that the mother had turned against these last two remaining pups as they got older, and was starting to attack them. So my daughter and I went and sat down in a back room and they brought to us the first of the sisters we selected to see.
This first was very happy, jumpy and springy, with a splash of white coloring that made me imagine her half Springer Spaniel, if you will. We knew immediately this one was meant to be our own. But we wanted to see her sister dog as well. When they brought her litter mate in, this second one immediately belly flopped with the greatest humility, so we knew we could not leave the remaining sibling behind.
We had to get them both.
It would have been too sad to just leave one behind.
Originally these pups had been named Mary and Grace, but we changed the name of the first dog to Cookie, and the second to Kiwi.
Kiwi looks different than Cookie, as if she had a different father who was part German Shepherd. They say that can actually happen within the same litter. The coloring on Kiwi’s face, her marks if you will, make her look like she is perpetually a bit sad or concerned about something.
I’ve grown to love both dogs with an intensity that frightens me sometimes. I know they will probably die before I do. But in the meantime, now that my children are grown, I take much joy, comfort and delight in them. It is no silly, meaningless feminine contrivance for me to consider them great gifts from God. It is gratitude. Dogs are woman’s best friend.
Cookie is the funny one, always getting into trouble, but with a child like innocence that makes me quick to forgive, no matter what and from whom, she snitches food off my table. Cookie repays my overindulgence by sleeping right next to me, by my side in bed. Between the two of them I worry about Cookie the most, as she would be the one to get lost, hurt, or run off in the woods, never to be seen again.
Last night I had a dream that there were dogs running across a great field, excited and barking, in a great and enormous pack. A woman approached me and said that she had seen Cookie, but now Cookie was missing.
My heart lurched with sudden understanding and grief.
I started calling out Cookie’s name, running, desperate to spot that splash of white fur that would identify my own. I do not sorrow as much if other people’s dogs get lost or killed, but my heart is very involved in protecting this specific one.
One dog with white came to me obediently when I called to it, but as it got closer I saw it was not Cookie, and the splash of white I thought I saw seemed to dissolve into brown. The dog that approached me was becoming full beagle. The sorrow and despair that I was felt was indescribable. So I asked the woman, but you saw her, you know Cookie’s alive?
No, said the woman, she just came by my side for a moment.
As if I felt the sensed presence of someone who had gone down in battle.
When I awoke I knew it had just been a horrible nightmare, but my heart wrenched in resistance. The familiar warm feeling of Cookie sleeping peacefully beside my legs gave me some relief (I think she even let out a little doggie snore) because it made me know Cookie was safe.
But it is the need to know that Cookie can never be unsafe, like a stubbornness to pre-save her that tortures me. I know I can never keep her safe from dying. In fact, I know she will some day.
So I know the answer is greater trust in God.
But that will be a part of my life that most likely, I will at least get to see. I will get to grieve over my lost dog. My aborted sibling I cannot even see. I know he or she is safe with God because I have felt that child’s happy presence, but I feel a compulsion to correct the injustice of a death left unacknowledged and forgotten, a grief one cannot even observe. It is not so much for my own sake, but for the sake of the lost child.
For it is only in this manner that I can pre-save the baby that my mother once lost, undo my mother’s crime for her, and return to her a lost child.
Before it is too late.