After reading this query I tried to think of a sudden insight that had changed my perception immediately and irrevocably, forever transforming me. I couldn’t think of one. Instead I thought of the gradual change in my perception of my marriage.
I think of myself as a cat. Sleek and self-contained. Maybe a bit prissy. Definitely discriminating and probably fastidious. I am assuredly self-possessed. I strive to be composed and poised and in control of every situation. I imagine myself sitting in a picture window, regally licking a paw and using it to groom my already perfect coat. I don’t mind showing and receiving affection – but I prefer that it be moderated and proper.
I think of my husband, on the other hand, as a dog. Probably a Saint Bernard. Puppy. He is big and eager and clumsy.
Imagine me, sitting in my bay window, and, suddenly, the door to the room opens and in bounds this huge, ungainly puppy. He rushes over, licking me and almost knocking me down. He trips over my water, spilling most of it. He steps in my food and then slobbers on my favorite catnip stuffed toy. I am appalled. I don’t know what this creature is or what he is doing in my room. He wants to be friends, to shower me with affection and to be showered with affection in return.
This is how I’ve seen our marriage. I am a cat and he is a dog. I spent a lot of years thinking that everything would be perfect if my husband could just learn to be a cat. If only he weren’t so big and friendly and outgoing and eager and familiar and affectionate and affable and awkward. So puppy-like.
In short, I knew that being a cat was right and being a dog was wrong. Cats good. Dogs bad. I had lots of advice and ideas about how my husband could stop being a dog and start being a cat. I thought this was an area where Divine Grace could really go to work on my husband.
Instead, Divine Grace went to work on me. Years of thinking about The Light and seeking The Light and striving to mind The Light slowly began to show me that it’s all right to be a dog. That, in fact, dogs – even Saint Bernard puppies – are good. They are lovable, and loving, and perfect – just the way they are.
This change in perception has been hard to come by. And it is something that I have to keep reminding myself of. When I’m sitting in my bay window I am not always happy to see him rush into the room. I sometimes have to keep myself from recoiling or bolting or swatting him with my paw. But more and more I am genuinely happy to see him bound in. I am more often able to share my food, to ask him to mop up the spilled water, to just pretend I didn’t see him slobbering on my toy.
More and more, minding the Light brings me to an awareness that I am happy to be a cat, loving a dog, who loves a cat.