Today we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I can appreciate St. Patrick well enough, but I'm not Irish and I'm not religious. Still, I love the spirit of the holiday---no gifts, no guilt, just mostly enjoying family and friends---yes, and spirits too.
But mostly, when I think of St. Patrick's Day, I think of our own St. Paddy, who was such a big part of our lives and who is still deeply missed.
After Paddy died, we got Gurtie. And Gurtie and I never had the same relationship I shared with Paddy.
I loved Paddy. I wrote I do not love my cat.
How was I to define the love for Gurtie? It was certainly not the love I felt for my family and friends, it wasn't the love I felt for Paddy. I began to appreciate that the Greeks had several words for love;Eros, Agape, Philia, Storge. But none quite fit this queer co-dependence between Gurtie and me.
Eventually, with work, I began to understand my obligation to Gurtie. It became my goal to teach myself to love this persnickety, grumpy, delicate-stomached animal, nothing at all like Paddy, who seemed to listen and even understand.
Finally, I began to see that it didn't matter at all what I called my relationship with her. The truth is, it wasn't at all about feelings, but rather about actions. Love was a verb. Not a thing I felt, but a thing I performed.
And I taught myself to perform it well.
Today I saw Gurtie sitting in the sun. The light was perfect and I grabbed my camera. As I looked at her through the lens I realized, I love my cat. Paddy would be so pleased.
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you too.