Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Cats and Expensive People

I was in a conversation the other day that came straight out of the movies; one of those really bad movies though. A friend shared a meeting he'd had with someone who was preparing to marry a fellow Ivy Leaguer. His bride-to-be had asked her parents for a huge sum of money to supply for the wedding, to the tune of over $60,000! When asked why so much moolah, a complaint over not being able to have her cat at the wedding surfaced. So in the absence of the precious feline, she was having a $6000 ice sculptured cat commissioned. Yup. Six grand for an iced kitty.... An ice cat that will melt majestically onto the floor during the Chicken Dance (if they even do the Chicken Dance at such opulent weddings). So, what'd ya think about that? What would you say to a groom who's about to marry such an expensive bride? I would say "run." Here's a rather long but solid refelction about "expensive people" from the wife, mother, and mystic, Caryll Houselander: "The expensive people are those who, because they are not simple, make complicated demands — people to whom we cannot respond spontaneously and simply, without anxiety. They need not be abnormal to exact these complicated responses; it is enough that they should be untruthful, or touchy, or hypersensitive, or that they have an exaggerated idea of their own importance, or that they have a pose — one which may have become second nature, but is not what they really are. With all such people we are bound to experience a little hitch in our response. If we are not sure that what they say is true, we are embarrassed. In time, our relationship with them becomes unreal. If we have to consider every word or act in their company in case it hurts their feelings or offends their dignity, or to act up to them in order to support their pose, we become strained by their society. They are costing us dearly in psychological energy. The individual who is simple, who accepts himself as he is, makes only a minimum demand on others in their relations with him. His simplicity not only endows his own personality with unique beauty; it is also an act of real love. This is an example of the truth that whatever sanctifies our own soul at the same time benefits everyone who comes into our life. To accept oneself as one is; to accept life as it is: these are the two basic elements of childhood's simplicity and humility. But it is one thing to say this and another to do it. What is involved? First of all, it involves the abandoning of all unreality in ourselves. But even granted that we have the courage to face ourselves and to root out every trace of pretense, how shall we then tolerate the emptiness, the insignificance, that we built up our elaborate pretense to cover? The answer is simple. If we are afraid to know ourselves for what we are, it is because we have not the least idea of what trial is. It is because we have not the least idea of the miracle of life-giving love that we are. "
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