Crowns and Independence

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We got crowned! (Our youngest child was married.)

 

Monday Morning Musings:

 

 “Love is the crowning grace of humanity, the holiest right of the soul, the golden link which binds us to duty and truth, the redeeming principle that chiefly reconciles the heart to life, and is prophetic of eternal good.”

–Petrarch

“We need to help people to discover the true meaning of love. Love is generally confused with dependence. Those of us who have grown in true love know that we can love only in proportion to our capacity for independence.”

–Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

 

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

–Nelson Mandela

 

It has been a mostly beautiful weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation,

colonies declaring independence from the crown

I think of how crown rhymes with clown,

and it amuses me–

I think of all the clowns who’ve worn crowns

and how often the jester or fool has been the wise man.

 

Last year on this day, the Fourth of July,

Independence Day,

My husband and I wore paper crowns,

parents of the bride

a nod to custom,

and an affectionate tribute to a family tradition

of the birthday crowns we construct.

Our daughter carried a fan she designed

with a quotation from Jane Eyre,

“Reader I married him.”*

 

She and our now son-in-law vowed to love and cherish

each other, to join together

forming “a more perfect union”

like colonies becoming states, and then a union,

it is a process that goes beyond the simple declaration of intent

of independence and dependence

a balancing act,

not dependence,

rather, respecting one another,

and enhancing the best in each.

Perhaps our nation could benefit

from a bit of marriage counseling.

 

We had planned to see a baseball game with them,

baseball, the great American pastime,

what could be more perfect?

But because it was raining with violent storms in the forecast

we went to dinner with them instead–

food, that like our nation, was a mixture of all types,

vegan entries, steak for my husband, salads,

Buffalo sauce and Sriracha

many flavors and textures

sharing space on the table.

 

The weather had improved by the next day,

glorious weather for celebrating,

though we stayed at home

listening to fireworks in the distance.

We watched a movie, Belgian, but in French

(Remember how France joined us in fighting

their English enemy though France was still

a monarchy with a King who wore a crown?)

Two Days, One Night,

Marion Cotillard, a wife and mother,

works in a solar-panel factory,

with the help of her husband and support from friends,

she spends the weekend asking her co-workers to vote for her to keep her job,

even though if they do so, they will lose their bonuses.

We make all sorts of negotiations in life,

When is it right give up something that will benefit ourselves

in order to help someone else?

It is a decision each must decide.

Dependence and independence.

 

The sun rises, a crown of pink and orange

beaming golden rays into the azure sky,

spokes like those of Lady Liberty’s crown

promising liberty, standing on a broken chain,

given to the United States by the people of France,

inscribed with the date, July 4, 1776,

a symbol,

not a reality for all

but something to strive for

Liberté, égalité, fraternité,

Emily Dickinson said,

“Hope is the thing with feathers,”

but hope is also the sun rising and setting

each day

and hope is the joining of two in marriage

and love is our shining crown.

 

*This essay by Claire Fallon discusses the line “Reader, I married him,”

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14 thoughts on “Crowns and Independence

  1. Marriage counseling for our country. Why didn’t I think of that! Of course the trick for marriage counseling to work is that both sides must let go of their need to “be right” in favor of the relationship. It’s hard for purists, fundamentalists, to give that up.

    I love the crown-clown idea too. And certainly our own George III fit the bill.

    Happy 4th

    • Thank you, Janet. Yes, you are right that both sides must want it to work, and of course there are many “sides” here. Still. . .one can dream.
      Poor George suffered with his own demons.

  2. Lovely – with all sorts of clever nuances. “Love is our shining crown” – indeed.

    This weekend, I watched Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil. Love was not shining, but tarnished. Still, it prevailed. Like Janet, I too echo your fine line: Perhaps our nation could benefit a bit of marriage counseling.

  3. There is so much here — as usual — that I’m sure where to pin my comments. I like the idea of marriage counseling for our country. We could surely use it. I love your paper crowns, and I had no idea ““Reader I married him” was so popular. Thanks for pointing the way towards the essay.

  4. The splendid lines “vowed to love and cherish / each other, to join together / ….it is a process that goes beyond the simple declaration of intent / of independence and dependence” then “a symbol, / not a reality for all / but something to strive for / Liberté, égalité, fraternité” reminded me of what Vaclav Havel wrote in his essay “Never Hope Against Hope”:

    The kind of hope I often think about (especially in hopeless situations like prison or the sewer) is, I believe, a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don’t. Hope is not a prognostication — it’s an orientation of the spirit.

    Hope in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy when things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It’s not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is this hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily, without meaning, without love, and, finally, without hope.

    • Your comments are always so thoughtful, Doug. Thank you for taking the time to write this one. I will have to look up Havel’s essay. I like, “Hope is not a prognostication — it’s an orientation of the spirit.”

    • This distinction between hope and optimism is important, and often missed. Years ago, I tried to express hope to someone who could not understand how I could have hope, but was willing to grant time to placate me. At the time, it didn’t occur to me to explain that, in this case, my hope was not only for a brighter future for us, but also for the end of that person’s pessimism. I wasn’t overly optimistic, myself, but I did have hope. That window finally closed, which, in hindsight, was a good thing. I’m in a better place, now. Even so, I wish I’d been able to express that difference between hope and optimism.

      • That’s a good point. I suppose one can be hopeful AND optimistic, but one can also have hope, as you did, while not being optimistic. I’m glad you’re in a better place now.

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