The Other I

July 11, 2007

Men whom I have loved

Filed under: Catholicism and other questions of religion,Life as a Nun — theotheri @ 4:43 pm

Although in retrospect, I can see that I have always been pretty independent, I have never shared the anger of so many feminists against men.   Despite society’s inequalities and unfairness, in general, I enjoy men.  They have been my brothers, my friends, my colleagues, my neighbours.  I don’t walk around resenting them.  (I am not talking about men who think they own their women and have a right to punish them as if they were lesser beings.  That is an injustice of such magnitutde that I am left gagging in revulsion and rage.) 

There are four men, in particular, whom I have loved with passion.  Not all with an explicit sexual passion but with a depth of feeling that reached to the core of my being.  The first was my father.  I adored him and I was his favourite.  He was an exceptionally intelligent, educated, highly-principled man who also suffered from depression.  He made depression look so reasonable, and became depressed about such truly great issues, that I was in my twenties before I realized that depression was not the only intelligent response to life, and that my father actually suffered from a clinical disease.  Although he loved us without question, Dad more or less communicated that he thought his children were failures.  I see now that was part of his depression and his inability to believe he could ever accomplish anything of great value, including raising children who were successful. 

I felt an immense burden to make him happy.  Although he never said so, I knew Dad would be terribly proud if I became a nun, and that was certainly one of the reasons why I entered the convent.  By the same token, leaving the convent and then getting married to a divorced man were steps out of childhood and into an independent adulthood. 

My father’s last request to me when we both knew he was dying was that I ask my husband to seek an annullment from the Roman Catholic Church for his first marriage so that we could be married by a Catholic priest.  I said no, that it had been a real marriage for my husband, and I would not ask him to pretend that it wasn’t.  Besides, at that point I had already left the church and most of its doctrine behind.

I was a nun when I met – and fell passionately in love with  – the second man whom I loved with what felt like my whole being.  His story is for tomorrow’s post.

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