Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Tenacious Adventure

As the gentle rain falls, I wonder how many of the world’s great thoughts (as well as the crazy, subversive and slip-shod ones) were born on such days. This morning as I negotiated the territory between what I was supposed to do and what I wanted to do, I blamed the rain when "want" triumphed over "should."  In that space, the following poetic rendition of the recent past was born.

The Missing Piece

I chose to love a pie-shaped man with one piece missing.
His missing piece isn’t so big, I thought.
And the rest of him is sweet.
Together we can blend a new treat.

But my pie-shaped-man-with-one-piece-missing
Saw my own missing piece and thought it two.
Not sweet enough, I heard him say,
Just not enough, as he walked away.

The moral of this tale: Each of us has one piece missing,
Some even more. All of us, alone, alone-ly, incomplete.
To love is an every day choice to make,
Not a one-time, blue-ribbon pie to bake.

Shortly after that outpouring, I found solace in one of my favorite places … BrainPickings, a joyful exploration of all things creative. It started with a piece from Erich Fromm’s Art of Loving and then progressed to French philosopher, Alain Badiou’s In Praise of Love. It was in Badiou’s piece that I found a profound insight.

He says:
Love… is a quest for truth… truth in relation to something quite precise: what kind of world does one see when one experiences it from the point of view of two and not one? What is the world like when it is experienced, developed and lived from the point of view of difference and not identity? That is what I believe love to be.

We shouldn’t underestimate the power love possesses to slice diagonally through the most powerful oppositions and radical separations. The encounter between two differences is an event, is contingent and disconcerting… On the basis of this event, love can start and flourish. It is the first, absolutely essential point. This surprise unleashes a process that is basically an experience of getting to know the world. Love isn’t simply about two people meeting and their inward-looking relationship: it is a construction, a life that is being made, no longer from the perspective of One but from the perspective of Two.

Love cannot be reduced to the first encounter, because it is a construction. The enigma in thinking about love is the duration of time necessary for it to flourish. In fact, it isn’t the ecstasy of those beginnings that is remarkable. The latter are clearly ecstatic, but love is above all a construction that lasts. We could say that love is a tenacious adventure. The adventurous side is necessary, but equally so is the need for tenacity. To give up at the first hurdle, the first serious disagreement, the first quarrel, is only to distort love. Real love is one that triumphs lastingly, sometimes painfully, over the hurdles erected by time, space and the world.
 I am, perhaps, wont to oversimplify, but, I read this as: it’s only when things get “bad,” that there is the opportunity for real “good." When we can face our differences and come to know and appreciate the person beneath the differences, we develop a new perspective and come into the fullness of Love.

Sounds simple, huh?

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