the lost man chronicles
book two: the art of love
the fantastic and fabled relationship
One of the primary factors that most people do not consider when pondering the natural disintegration of "the relationship" (other than the natural disintegration of the relationship) is the fact that through our twenties and even extending late into our thirties we are still growing—spiritually, psychologically, and intellectually.
Most of us are not yet fully aware of what we ultimately want, what we should focus on (or simply not enlightened to the notion that one should FOCUS), or what our truest passions are till we are about to die (then things really come into focus). For the purest meaning of anyone's life can only be distilled until it has aged properly, and is ready to be relished with a little reflection.
Thus, the inherent dilemma of the concept of the relationship itself, where two "immature" individuals, two evolving egos, attempt to reconcile two sets of twenty to thirty years of life, futilely attempting to align that which does not come along with instructions or a survey of the landscape in order to map things out.
Yet, we rarely foresee the inevitable, the fracas that looms over any two people who attempt to forge a single life together. And, no one ever warns us, nor do we ever figure it out ourselves, despite all the prior trial and error.
We are naturally wired to work against such wisdom when our innate sentimental frailties begin to charge us with hope, yearning, loneliness and aspiration; feelings which are always in flux and the fulfillment thereof which can never be satiated (because all the vessels of emotion have holes in them).
Thus, the confusion and ensuing retrospective inquisition: "What went wrong?," "How did I ever get into this mess?," "Why didn't we see that we are so different from the start?," "What did I see in him in the first place?" —usually a lot.
The irony is that these prickly questions cannot be answered and are never ready to be asked of oneself until things begin to fall apart.
We simply do not realize that our happiness is highly dependent on our personal growth and that at any young period (any time before the mid-point) in our lives we only roughly know in which direction our branches are sprouting out toward the sun.
Just as two trees need space and their own abundance of water, air, soil, and light, two people are equally inclined to require similar separate reservoirs of energy. Otherwise, we entangle, stump one another's growth, compete for limited resources, and shake each other's foundations; as a result, the differing and often conflicting opinions frustrate us as we debate to what extent we should allow the other's roots and branches to grow.
Just as Shel Silverstein's sapient tale, The Giving Tree, unfolds, unless one person is willing to sacrifice themselves wholly and unconditionally for the other over time, like many parents unwittingly learn to do, there is little chance that any sublime state of mutual and everlasting happiness can be achieved between two amorous adults.
Maybe, that’s why it’s just a great fable.
“I am sorry,” sighed the tree. “I wish that I could give you something...but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry...”
“I don’t need very much now,” said the boy, “just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired.”
“Well,” said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, “well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.
~ The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
the art of living the art of love