February 7th, 2017
The true danger in long distance relationships is underestimating the power of the superficially trivial.
How much easier is it to go out with someone for lunch or dinner than it is to sit down alone at a table and write someone a love letter.
How much easier to defer, to delay, to think that there’s always tomorrow when it comes to talking to someone time zones away.
How much easier is it to simply let life runneth over.
But it’s not just that.
“Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else’s puzzle.”
So wrote Lawrence Kushner in his book, *Honey from the Rock.*
In other words, you have in your possession certain clues to your loved ones’ destinies — secrets they haven’t discovered themselves.
Wouldn’t you love to hand over those clues — to make a gift of the puzzle pieces that are most needed by the people you care about?
Search your depths for insights you’ve never communicated. Tell truths you haven’t found a way to express before now. More than you know, you have the power to mobilize your companions’ dreams. – Rob Brezny
“For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining.”
- James Hillman
Gertrude Stein defined love as “the skillful audacity required to share an inner life.”
Maybe there’s someone out there who has a vital puzzle piece of mine, and without them there’s a giant hole in my life, but it’s all too easy to let many others fill in the hole with their pieces instead.
In a sense, that’s grace for you. As the Chinese like to say – there’s no need to hang yourself dead from one specific tree.
In another sense, though, there’s the danger.
Easier to chase the low-hanging fruit. Easier to go with the fast endorphin rush, the candy-fluff joy. I can spend my entire life flitting from flower to flower and never come down from the sugar high unless I want to.
It’s not good. It’s not bad. It just is.
There’s always going to be someone who ticks more of my boxes than another. And there’s always going to be two or three or four or five people who could make up the lack of them if I’m lucky enough to find them.
Such is grace. Such is life. Such is the grief that strikes the puzzle piece holder become obsolete.
It’s hard to imagine a life with someone who isn’t there in person.
The day to day tiny joys that trip off the tongue with someone who’s tangibly there and which can seem all too petty when written down. The small pricks of frustration that add up to one long whine when turned into text or cross-time-zone phone call.
Being with someone long-distance requires courage and imagination and fistfuls of spoons. It requires far more skill and audacity than when you’re with a person who’s right there.
The person who cuddles you when you’re sad. The person who breaks bread with you on a regular basis and witnesses your life and allows you to witness theirs. The person who you share a cup of coffee with before work or a drink with after. The person who can pick you up when your car breaks down or when you’re stranded. The person who scratches your itch when you desperately want cock/pussy. The person who can offer a shoulder to weep on when you are at the end of your tether.
It’s not better. It’s not worse. It simply is.
It’s funny, truly.
The romantic in me (I blame Venus in Pisces, really) used to think of a True Love. The person who holds the keys to the kingdom, the sword that defends it, and the armor that shields it.
Wang Baochuan waiting 18 years for her husband to come home from war? Totes romantic. (never mind that she really should have just accepted the idea that he was dead, honestly, especially when he came back after having married a “barbarian” princess while “missing in action”)
I believed that people should always be true to the One. Or the Two. Or the Three+, in later years. But ultimately, I believed in holding out for someone who carries a large chunk of your puzzle in their soul.
I still do. If there’s anything that these two years have taught me, it’s that I want the someone who is capable of building the irrigation system rather than the someones who rain when they want to. (yeah, the analogies are getting strange)
But unlike before, I totally get why people don’t.
Because sometimes you just want to cuddle. Sometimes you just need someone, anyone, to be there and hold your hand and say they’re there for you. And when those someones are pretty cool people in their own right? Yeah.
Need is an interesting word, kind of like literally – you cannot literally use literally for literally everything. There’s plenty of things that we think we need that we probably don’t and many things that we think we do that we don’t prioritize and perhaps far too many things that we take for granted.
Chop wood and carry water – so and so it goes. The true question for tonight is whether the quest for enlightenment through chopping wood and carrying water negates the benefits?