My New Saying

I’ve been following the news a bit about Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who has been jailed for contempt of court for not filing marriage licenses for same-gendered couples wishing to marry. Actually, it’s not that I’ve been following it but really can’t avoid it. I have no particular comment on all this, except to say that it got me thinking. Not about Kim Davis, but about the number of heterosexual folks I know who are now in “non-traditional” relationships.

Several older friends who have been widowed and found companionship with someone in similar circumstances. They describe their relationship as “keeping each other company.” It looks a lot like marriage but they haven’t done that for a variety of reasons, sometimes out of a sense of respect for a deceased spouse, or because they are having difficulty entertaining the idea of getting married again, or for concern about tax implications.

A couple I know and respect who have not married but refer to each other as “life partners,” living in separate homes but raising wonderful adopted children together.

A couple or two who have been engaged a long, long time but not married because of distance or jobs or other reasons.

Yesterday one of my kids inquired about one of these folks, asking if they would ever get married or be engaged forever. I said I didn’t know and that there were a lot of factors involved. “I guess life’s just complicated,” he said in response, to which I replied spontaneously, “and so maybe we should handle it with compassion.”

And there it is, my new saying: “Life’s complicated: handle with compassion.”