Apparently, when my brothers and I were very little, our father told us that Santa had been killed in a sleigh accident. As I’ve noted, though my mother was Catholic, my father was Jewish, and I guess wasn’t at all into the idea of Christmas. I do remember once, when my father was still alive, my parents arguing over a Christmas tree. My mother wanted one, and my father didn’t. They finally settled, if my memory is correct, on putting a star of David at the top of a tree, and having it be both a Hanukkah bush and a Christmas tree. That was a little like, later on, when I was grown up, being married in Nova Scotia, where same-sex marriages had just become legal, but not having any of the rights or recognition of marriage in New York. So Julia was my wife in Canada, and not in the States. It was confusing, even between us: Were we married or not? Was it Christmas or not?
Though destabilization is not so bad if you’ve wrapped yourself up in a cocoon that leaves reality out (particularly the reality of other peoples’ suffering), being confused is not so good. I mean, truth really is subjective, at best, but we do all have to get along, and that usually involves agreeing on a few things. It would be even better, too, if we actually cared about each other, our society, and the future of our children and our children’s children’s children, and agreed on what’s needed to allow us to have those things.
Dzigar Kongtrul once told me and Julia, when we were driving him up to Vermont one day, two or three years ago, that you’ve got to have principles that you live by. When Julia asked him how you know what your principles are, he told her (among other things) to start with being grateful to the people who have helped her, or taken care of her, or been kind to her. Or something like that. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I recently discovered that, as of 2008, New York recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Canada. This is a very good thing for a lot of people. It makes at least that issue—are we married, or are we not? Is a vow worthless, or is it not? Are we at least in part responsible to each other, or are we not? Do other people recognize us as a sanctified duo, the way they do heterosexual married couples, or do they not?—less confusing. Having grown up in a situation where realities did not match up (see above), I am grateful for any consensus on the principles that are at least in my heart.
So here it is: Today is Christmas Eve for some us, including me; and I am legally married right now and right here in New York, separation or not. It’s a beautiful day, and I am going off to serve lunch to a lovely man with a foot injury. That’s all I know for now, and that’s good.
Happy Christmas Eve, blogateers. May Santa have a soft landing on your homes.