The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lead, Kindly Chloe

                                               I loved to choose and see my path;
                                               But now lead Thou me on.
                                                                    John Henry Newman

                                               He may have his little thoughts.
                                                                    Celia, Middlemarch, Chapter 50

There is a tradition in Judaism which teaches that when Moshiach comes, the established order will be reversed. Instead of man being the head of woman, woman will be the head of man.
It is taught in Chassidic and Kabbalistic literature that the polarities of masculine and feminine will eventually invert. There will come a time, blessed and welcomed by all, when the feminine will have greater access to transcendent consciousness, and when she will bestow and man will receive from her.1                                                                      
In a world thus transformed, the body will no longer be subject to the head, but rather the body will become a conduit of light for the head. Material creation, presently distanced from the spiritual realm and dependent on receiving light indirectly, trickling down through more elevated levels, becomes instead directly connected to and inhabited by the source of light itself.
So Moshiach, who represents the ultimate fulfillment of Torah, himself rides the donkey of the material. For he heralds a world in which the material is no longer the lower or secondary element, but an utterly refined resource, no less central and significant a force for good than the most spiritual creation.2
And so it is with Chloe.

She stands by the fence, waiting to be let out. When she is released, her first order of business - before setting off to graze - is to load me up onto her back. Why? I don't know. Perhaps she's training me.

The other day, we had a party at our house, and two of the guests - little girls aged 6 and 8 - wanted pony rides. Chloe was reasonably gracious about allowing the little girls to sit on her back, but she made it quite clear that she was not going to cooperate with any such nonsense as being lead around in the direction of someone else's choosing. She wasn't cross, or mean, or anxious about it. She just said no. She always used to start by saying no back in the days when I would have insisted she obey, only in those days she would have been anxious and cranky. Nowadays when she says no, she just looks at me quite kindly as she refuses. And I say, "Ok, you're the boss." Well, sometimes first I say, "Oh, please, pretty please, couldn't you please, just this once ..." And then I give up.

The next day, the effrontery of my behavior towards her with the little girls apparently had not left too bad a taste in her mouth, because she put me on her back as usual. If I'm slow in getting up and she starts moving with me only half-way into position, she stops, waits, and starts again once I'm properly up.

I realize I just absolutely have to totally give up trying to make Chloe behave anything like a "normal" pony. When a little girl asks for a pony ride, I'll tell her that George (who has a mild, avuncular interest in being helpful with children and beginners) will oblige. But if the little girl insists on Chloe, I'll tell her she's welcome to ask Chloe for a piggyback ride, but that Chloe only goes where Chloe wants, and that's the way it should be.

I love letting Chloe be in charge. When I was little, my dreams of being on a horse did not consist of riding dressage exercises, or sailing over a round of jumps, or riding in the circus - I dreamed of being taken on the back of a magic horse to places I never knew about before.

Chloe waits by the fence.

1. Sarah Schneider, "Voice of the Bride," Moshiach101.com 
2.  "Moshiach's Donkey," Moshiach 101.com

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