It was a lesson that seemed like just a bunch of words: Between two people there is a relationship. One is the orbit. The other is the source. The orbit gathers and directs energy to the source. The source recreates the energy into that which will sustain them both.
All I could think of at the time was, He’ll bring home the bacon, and I’ll fry it up the pan.
And that God, somehow, at least for this lesson, was stuck in the ’50s.
Which kind of delighted me.
God with a distinct personality: middle-class, suburban, post-World War II.
Which is to say, I didn’t think much of the lesson.
There are a number of Between Two People lessons.
The lesson of peerage: Between two people, all things are the same; and, of course, the lesson of distinction: Between two people, all things different.
Lessons 11 and 12. (I bet you can guess which lesson is assigned to which number.)
Source and orbit wasn’t associated with any number. Not that that mattered much.
And, really, in life, in my life, these lessons didn’t have much application. Yeah, we’re the same here. Yeah, we’re different there.
Source and orbit really had absolutely no significance as far as I could see.
I did, from time-to-time, try to sort it out. Break it apart. The problem was, I really didn’t get the dynamic of the lesson. Did it apply to everyone, everywhere, at all times? That couldn’t be. I had a relationship with my trigonometry teacher, but the only sharing of energy that I could see was his aid in untangling my messes.
Not really bacon and pan. Or even bacon and eggs, for that matter. And just where’s the toast?
Even closer, I couldn’t see how a lesson like this had applied to my brother and I. He didn’t bring me anything, except aggravation every once in a while. And I never gave him back anything. With the exception of a partially eaten sandwich that I threw at him once after he said something particularly nasty. (I’m assuming it was something nasty. I have the memory of throwing the sandwich – for which I was chastised; he, on the other hand, was never challenged for whatever it was that he did.)
So what energy was he bringing me, and how was I converting into something that will sustain us both?
And if it is just applied to married people, say, then what really is the point of having a lesson written just for that type of relationship? I could see all sorts of sourcing and orbiting in a marriage. But who couldn’t?
Until the other day.
I saw it in action. Really in action. Or, in this case, nonaction.
Gone was the view that God was really my grandmother in disguise. Fussing about a woman’s role. The same woman who ran a munitions factory during World War II, and later pretty much ran the town in which we lived. But, really, women should stay at home, she would whisper, hoping it would grab hold of my ear.
My goal in life was to sit in a field and listen to God. I’m not sure where that fell on her scale of right-place-for-women.
As far as I could tell, I didn’t fall on anyone’s scale. Ever.
There should be a word for scaleless people.
Of course, the lesson doesn’t assign gender roles. I just did it automatically because of the association I made when I first “learned” the lesson.
Boys on one side, girls on the other. Everyone in their place.
As I said, dramatically above, Whatever.
But very recently the Church of England decided (well, not so much decided as was hustled) into believing that women would make just the best bishops. (I believe that one has already begun a lawsuit against the church because there was a bishopric open and she was not chosen. You go girl! (I really have to remind myself to stop grinding my teeth.))
And I saw a picture of their victory. The result of their pushing aside those who were concerned with the unchurching of the Orthodox and getting their way.
I’ll stop. I’ll stop.
But there they were all lined up. Grinning.
And all I could think of was, Between two people there is a relationship. One is the orbit. The other is the source.
And I saw what was happening: those who were once considered the sources of our civilization, women, those who stood by, who washed dirt out in the river, who bent over and picked up, they are leaving. They are going over to be orbits.
Spinning around. Getting things done.
Being important. Being very, very important.
It’s all that is valued these days: being the active one. And never, ever allowing yourself to receive. To be passive.
To give back.
Because being given to is an insult to today’s very modern women. No Opening Doors For Me!
And doing for others is beneath us.
Let the nanny and the maid do it.
Or do it yourself.
Or, best of all, go away and leave me alone so that I Can Be Important.
And I watched as all these orbits, with no sources, or with strained sources, or with forced sources, spun around our universe, without being repaired, built up, fulfilled.
And not even mystically.
And then the other day I watched as an elderly woman with a soft, lilt to her voice, Jamaican, perhaps, struggle with her bags of groceries.
And as I bent down to pick up a few to help her along her way, I thought, Between two people there is a relationship. One is the source. The other is the orbit.
It’s in our kindness. Our smiles.
Giving a touch of love here and there.
Reviving the orbit.
Supplying it with what he needs to go back on his way.
We’re all sources. And we’re all orbits.
When we connect and exchange energy, we are the better for it.
And when we are alone, we seek to have God supply us with energy, or transform the energy we’ve gathered in our day into love.
Between two people there is a relationship.