Yesterday morning after I finished writing my blog, I went into Food 4 Less to pick up some fruit. Pulling out my wallet from my pocket, I watched coins scatter across the floor, realizing in a dumb moment of panic that I had not zipped it shut the last night when I stuck my new F.A.R.M. Amex card in it.
Everything on the floor. Ching! ching. ching. I knelt and crept on my hands and knees, pulling up coins, laughing lightly to myself at being the only one huddled on the floor grasping at pennies and nickels, as shoppers with carts rolled in from the entrance.
And then I saw it. A ladybug walking across the pink marble floor. I wouldn’t have seen it if I had never bent down.
I tried picking up the ladybug. It ran and then flipped over as my big, clumsy fingers scrawled across its back. Its little legs flailed in the air as I tried to delicately maneuver it into a clasped fist. I was determined to bring her outside.
As I walked through the exit, closed right fist, I thought of how the coins from my wallet fell. I was meant to be there at that moment, for the sake of the ladybug AND mine. We are brought here, together with one another to collaborate and care for each other. Long ago, in the parable of Adam and Eve, we learn that we lived in harmony with animals. It was our fall from grace that led us to sacrifice, to eating their flesh, and living in discord with them.
The ladybugs eat the bugs that may devour our crops. We revere the ladybug and save it whenever we can. Treat each other delicately and we can help each other and be a part of a whole.
I’ve been thinking of the concept of “whole” a lot since I left Farm Sanctuary yesterday. There Grace and I worked with a team of volunteers – mostly vegan – to run a Valentine’s Day event that raised funds for the org and allowed humans to connect with the rescued animals. As I got to know the other volunteers and their shared interest to save farm animals, our bond, our unified goal, superceded our differences. I cared less that one took too much time and pleasure of getting selfies of herself and each farm animal. Nor did I mind the woman that shouted the name of each animal and then exclaimed how she had been waiting all her life to pet each one, individually, animal by animal.
If this was the case, that I could readily accept these strangers into my own brood, and forgive them their faults, why was I having so much trouble seeing Sandy as part of a whole?
Where I left off with Part 1 of my last post…
I stopped talking to Sandy Friday night. No “Good night.” Just shut down after some rattling – tension in my voice dissension.
I didn’t want to hear from him. He was speaking some weird brainwashed speak as far as I could tell. “There he is reverting into his former self,” I thought. I found it interesting to hear about old Sandy, and generally while I might remark that I thought he made rushed and foolhardy decisions, I tried not to intervene and question the reasoning behind such choices, because old Sandy was good and buried under more developed, experienced current Sandy.
Maybe that’s what surprised me. That under layers, sedimented like rings in a tree, but more loose like thick sod squares of new grass thrown on top of one another, old Sandy was rising through the dirt like a zombie out of a grave in The Night of the Living Dead. Out he came, but he was not young and fresh. He was a rotten version of himself with paper thin skin, ready to be consumed by mass hordes of careless humans with their violence.
I know now that isn’t the case. He probably would have handled lunch with this girl like a champ, but the thought that this ungrateful, disgusting individual should cross back into his life, become a part of his life, willingly on his part, was too much to handle.
Later I reached out for the opinion of one of my longest friends – Nicki.
Nicki is a certified couples therapy counselor who knows how to remain surprisingly objective about the situation, despite our friendship. Branch, I have dated in the past, when I was even in less control of my anger and relationship expectations. Nights of his returning to me drunk and sloppy ended with sharpied criticisms across his body or books tossed outside in the rain.
They both provided thoughtful and trusted advice. Sandy might feel that my judging his choice to hang with this girl is controlling. I should not seek to control him. On his part, Nicki said that her practice subscribes to a view that a couple is a unit. If one is uncomfortable with a person in the other’s life, to protect the unit, that additional person ought to be cut. Sandy and I may continue to disagree, but the immediate and physical conflict is removed. I explained to her that I was less concerned with the act than the reasoning. I would not feel comfortable with his continuing to want to see someone who had taken advantage of him.