When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
– excerpted from The Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The Gift from the Sea is a book my sister has read many times. It is, unfortunately, not a book I have read. I have read snippets of it from various friends and various web sites. Sister has told me many times to buy it but I never have it on my list when I head to the book web site or to the actual mortar and brick bookstore.
I stumbled upon this snippet yesterday. These words ring so true that is it just another reason I am putting this book title and author in my purse today, this morning. I want to be sure the next time I am at the bookstore this is in my cart.
As I have grown older, I have seen more how Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s view of relationships is the right one to have. Relationships are not all us so we have no control over the way the combine “us” goes. We have to be willing to enjoy the ride, the here and now as “us” moves from one stage to another. If we are constantly looking for what is to come, we miss what is here. If we are constantly remember what has been, we miss what is here. Here is what is important.
In two separate incidents recently, I have been reminded again and again about the present. First, a week or so ago, it was a young child dying in our community. As a person, any death makes you stop and think. You think about life, possibly about death and mortality. As a parent, the death of a child, one who may be the same age as your own child, makes you hug those you love a little longer. You want to spend more time with your family. You want to pray that the family that is suffering finds peace somehow.
Yesterday, a member of the blogging community, a young mother, suffered a stroke. This also made me stop. I wanted the world to spin slower. I wanted to spend time with my children, with my friends.
Please pray for the family of that young boy. Please pray for the family of that young mother.