While talking about some relationship angst with my friend Kathleen – married eight years to her loving husband Jay – she tossed a film quote my way. Now Kathleen has been known to cite quips from Jane Austen to punctuate a conversation, but I’ve never known her to quote a cartoon.
She said, “You two can be ‘independent together’.” As it has been about 25 years since I’ve watched the “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” cartoon, I had to be reminded of the context of the line … complete with a video clip from You Tube (just search for “independent together”). The elf Herby says to Rudolph, “What do you say we both be independent together?” acknowledging that their unique qualities can exist mutually and respectfully in a friendship. Now I’m not usually one to take advice from elves however, I think this guy might be on to something.
I’m not a church-going person. I was raised in the Episcopal Church, but for about the past 20 years I’ve only gone – unless for weddings or funerals – at Christmas so my mother doesn’t have to go alone.
A few months ago my boss and I went to a conference in South Carolina. My boss was also raised Episcopalian, and it just so happened that in the 1960s his grandfather had been the rector at a church there. It’s a very historic church, so I thought that I would accompany him to the service at least to see the building.
The rituals of the service hadn’t changed since my childhood, however this church did have the added bonus of cushions on the pew seats. As I was day-dreaming through the sermon, reflecting on the fact that in urban South Carolina I was very surprised there were only white people at the service, I heard the minister say something that resonated.
“Hurt people hurt people.”