Lately I’ve been thinking about friendships and love relationships and the control we, as individuals, attempt to exert over them when things are not going our way. I’ve been thinking about the fear that surfaces when we open ourselves up to seeing the other person as he or she truly is — moment by moment — and the feeling of safety that envelops us when we close ourselves off with our rigidly formed opinions. Today, I came across a thoughtful piece on the topic on the Brain Pickings website. It is a meditation on David Whyte’s book Consolations, and it includes several touching excerpts in which Whyte attempts to gently pick apart the dynamics of friendships, heartbreak, and love relationships. I’m pasting one of the excerpts below. I’ve ordered Whyte’s book and can’t wait to receive it.
Love may be sanctified and ennobled by its commitment to the unconditional horizon of perfection, but what makes love real in the human world seems to be our moving, struggling conversation with that wanted horizon rather than any possibility of arrival. The hope for, or the declaration of a purely spiritual, unconditional love is more often a coded desire for immunity and safety, an attempt to forgo the trials of vulnerability, powerlessness and the exquisite pain to which we apprentice ourselves in a relationship, a marriage, in raising children, in a work we love and desire.