In this throwaway world, I’ve spent a good many years of early life trying relationships on like costumes. If the fit wasn’t right, I was disinclined to pursue its trajectory into and through troubled waters. Too afraid of how I would react to conflict, it was less painful to simply pull back or out. And at times this did serve; there is one friend in particular I do not regret having let go, and subsequently a marriage partner who absolutely refused to compromise. In my experience, successful relationships seem to require the willingness to continually make adjustments and fail to thrive unless companions possesses a depth of caring that prompts them to roll with changes until the union’s eventual end.
In David Richo’s The Five Things We Cannot Change and the Happiness We Find By Embracing Them, here are the unavoidable consequences of our human existence: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time. This can really be a wake-up call for those of us seeking permanence. Personally I have discovered, often to my consternation, that permanence is in truth illusory. If we ponder relationships, for example, we must accept that all end, whether through separation, divorce or at the hand of the ultimate Terminator, death.
Meanwhile along life’s rocky road, I discovered a big boulder in the middle. I could not move or shift it easily aside. Seeing as I seemed to have no other choice, I began to befriend it. This behemoth became first my ally, then partner, then husband. This rock was immovable – no matter how I fluttered about; how my mind reeled with misgivings regarding our difference in age and background, through all the twists and turns, the pushing and pulling. Here was a person who would stand by me, no matter what. Here I could not help but uncover my own deep vulnerability, ultimately leading to a profound humility and greater self-regard. At the same time I began to carry a depth of tenderness in my heart that had not previously been cultivated. Unlike my thinnish skinned inner empath who would sense what others were feeling while occasionally resenting the inability to metaphorically turn away, I began comprehending human frailties and weakness from the inside out. Flowering into love from the dirt and ash of harsh experience was something I began to understand from the top-down. My body strengthened; frame supporting flesh and sinew; blood and bone without complaint.
Does love truly heal? Sometimes it’s easier to view one’s own better qualities through another’s eyes. This is the sacredness and beauty of authentic connection: a friend or partner who loves us as we love our own offspring – unconditionally. And that kind of unreserved companionship is a gift beyond compare.