February 11, 2012

I linked to the Train video “Marry Me” in a previous post, and as I re-watched it a number of times, I got to thinking that it doesn’t include gay and lesbian couples, while it does seem to try to be inclusive in other ways.  As someone who was raised by parents who listened to Wagner (on the principle that there is a distinction between the art and the artist) but forbade “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof” (for the perception that they trivialize the horror of the Holocaust and pogroms, respectively), I found myself wondering what do make of the fact that I like a video that isn’t as inclusive as would make me comfortable.

I forget how it came up, but I got to discussing it with a friend of mine who is a lesbian (and spends a fair amount of effort, I think, on forwarding the issues of her community in the community at large), and, not that our opinion holds particular weight, we came to the idea that the video could be enjoyed for its art and for whatever inclusiveness it contained, and we could hope that there would be in the future other videos that would be even more inclusive.

I do feel concern over things that make some people feel left out.  And somehow, thinking about that led me to the issue of the relationship among detachment, detachment with love, and compassionate detachment.  I think the wording of “detachment with love” leads to misunderstandings, and so I tend to prefer thinking in terms of “compassionate detachment,” but I’m guessing that both have something to do with a core concept of maintaining a loving connection while maintaining a boundary regarding some other aspect of the relationship.  I think “detachment with love” too easily turns into “detachment with what I want the other person to perceive as love even if I’m not demonstrating love” — I think the modifier “compassionate” makes it clearer what sort of attitude is involved, and suggests, at least to me, how intertwined that feeling must be with the detachment.

I started thinking about a relationship in which the notion of “detachment with love” is taken literally, and what that would mean: physical separation but a relationship as intimate as possible?  What would the significance of that be?  Would it be a healthy relationship or would it be escapism of some sort?  Romeo and Juliet and Abelard and Heloise certainly don’t make the idea of physical separation seem like something positive, but maybe I am not being open-minded enough, maybe there is a love relationship with another human being in which separation is a positive thing, maybe, analogous to the way blind people seem to develop heightened other senses, separation and a lack of a physical relationship allows the energy in the relationship to be amplified in its other aspects.  Or maybe it’s just an accommodation for people who are shy or who are more comfortable with other forms of communication — after all, we can have a very intimate relationship with God without a bodily one.

Which brings me to one of my current favorite topics for contemplation: how to understand the notion of divinity housed in a physical body.  I disagree with the direction in which Christianity takes this, or at least its emphasis, because I don’t think it’s about one person, I think it’s about everyone, and I would refer to the notion of the Holy Spirit in all of us as evidence of this.  I think it’s the ultimate question, really, how to integrate body and soul, and in the context of relationships, I think it’s about all the variations of a relationship with another in terms of how the two bodies and two souls can relate.  Maybe a relationship involving physical detachment (a literal “detachment with love”) is the variation in which the souls merge without the bodies doing so.  I’m not sure, but it would be nice to have a fully satisfying such relationship, without a sense of that it was a poor cousin to a relationship involving a corporeal aspect, too, without, that is, involving a sense of loss.


2 Responses to “Marrying”

  1. swd Says:

    so i wonder if theosis is a point of engagement for you with Christian theology?

  2. Diana Moses Says:

    I just looked it up, and yes, it seems to be, very much so in general, although not necessarily in some of the details. Thank you for pointing me to this part of Christian theology. I’m glad to be reminded there is so much common ground, even when I don’t know about it, at least consciously.

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