Walking Between Worlds

May 9, 2010 at 10:43 am (Walking Between Worlds) (, , )

Moments in the Story of Us

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self.”                    John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom 

There is a rhythm to everything in the universe. Atoms. Molecules. Days. Seasons. People. Relationships. All things spinning and vibrating in the rhythmic connections that become ourselves, the world around us, the world within us—and the worlds we create together. Now and then, if we are lucky, we find a person whose rhythms and ways of being complement our own. If we are really lucky, our ways of being and moving in the world meet and awaken something deep within us: a place of knowing both our self and the other so intimately that it is like some ancient recognition only half remembered. It is as if we look into the mirror of the other and see our inner self more clearly while, at the same time, fully seeing and accepting that person as well. There is recognition and understanding. There is grace. There is belonging and fullness. The love that grows in this place is almost unspeakable.

It is in this kind of connection that we create the relationship of the three: the individual self; the individual other; and the third whole made in this union—the relationship itself. Because the two are whole persons coming together to make a living union, there is no needy desperation; no possessiveness; no competition; no manipulation; no fear of the other’s personhood. Each person is not only free to become, but is encouraged to do so by the grace of the relationship. In the path to the other, the self is fully present, not diminished; in the path to the self, the other walks closely beside, hand in hand. It is a hand-fasting of interdependence and loving empowerment in which each person is made a better, stronger, more fully actualized self. There is rhythmic giving and receiving, lifting up and being lifted, connecting and reconnecting as each member grows and the union deepens. It is not forced or contrived; it simply is. It is the nature of the two in an almost innate communion.

These relationships are rare. When we find them, we have found something akin to the miraculous. Often, we stumble on them and, in our fumbling to not fall, we fail to see them. They are such rare things, we do not register what we see. Or, we are simply ill prepared to fully grasp them. For Scin and me, it was there even in the beginning. There is no doubt that, in some ways, we saw and registered what was there between us. But we were young and ill prepared. Because we had the good sense to preserve, at least, the friendship, we are able to be here now. Beginning again. Recognizing and preserving the anam cara.

These are the things I thought about as I sat, again, in the large aloneness that is Logan airport waiting for my return flight home. I drank coffee in the main concourse and resisted the urge to call her and tell her to turn around. I reminded myself that I had to go home to work. I thought of all the things that served to bring us to this place, this decision to explore what a second chance might bring us. Each day of this journey convinces me that everything each of us has been through has, in some way or another, given us what we need to be here now—to be both ready and able to walk this path as whole people who choose each other.

As if we were on some shared vision quest, some common right of passage, we were given experiences and lessons that prepared us for this coming together. What we have found in this reunion has been, at once, surprising and yet not so surprising. From the beginning over 26 years ago, we had an immediate bond, a kind of recognition as if we had met before. We had instant sexual chemistry; but there was more between us. We shared a quirky, often dry humor. We liked the same movies, writers and music. Intellectually, we were clearly well matched. We were even kind of geeky in the same ways. We were different enough to be interesting and individual, but alike enough to bond us deeply. And, that butch-femme energy between us was like a static charge in crisp air. We were like orange and blue on the color wheel. And, in our time with others, we have learned things that make us careful and attentive to what we have. So, it is not a shock that those bonds have remained; nor is it surprising that new connections have grown out of the underlying networks of attraction.

There is an easiness to being in the same place daily—like stepping into the warmish ocean, gently pushing off and floating without effort. There is a hardness to leaving, a dull edge that seems to push painfully against me like being pressed against a wall in a crowded room. Each coming together brings us closer. We fall more easily, each visit, into the rhythm that we are becoming together. It is simple to enter that ebbing and flowing of daily activities that make up a life shared.

We never run out of things to talk about or laugh about. We naturally move through our days as if we have always been here—making breakfast for ourselves and her son, assuring that homework is done, each taking on tasks that suit us, waiting for the school bus, going about work and play like two people who belong together…as we do. We are so right for each other that even difficult things are handled with a knowing presence and caring attention. There is no real discord. We do not bicker. When issues arise, we seem to just talk and move through them as if they are simply part of the room, things we acknowledge and arrange as we need to in order that they fit. There is no desperation. All that comes our way seems to exist inside the rare respect and admiration for each other that covers us. We live together in an almost instinctive, quiet awareness of what we have been given and its value is preserved without strain. We simply are. What we are together takes its place around us like air. There is almost a scent, a fragrance, to the we that walks among us. We wear it with comfort. Each visit is an increasing of the we. Yet, unlike most of the relationships we have known before, there is no loss of the I. In fact, we are each made more—the understanding, acceptance, respect and regard that binds us makes us, each, better and more free to become. It is simple and affirming to be in this uncommon abiding.

It is not simple to leave it. We cope in our own different ways. There is, to this too, a rhythm. In that 48 to 24 hours before I leave, changes come. Scin turns slightly inward. The tendency toward insomnia that leaves me in her presence returns and I walk the house, write her notes, inch myself close to her and watch her sleep. The passion that drives our intense love-making becomes softer, less fevered. There are more elongated embraces, more frequent reaching for a hand to hold, fingers to entwine. Long looks are almost avoided. The protection from the wrenching of separation begins. In the car, driving to the airport, we talk. We say things we need to say—all the while, touching constantly, holding firmly to a finger, a hand, a thigh.

This time, she could not walk me in; she needed to be home when her son got off the bus. I watched her pull away. The leaving was like the unmedicated removal of an organ. Something in me breaks each time I leave her. It is fully mended only by the sight of her again, the touch of her skin on mine, the restoration of what has been severed. It is like a bruise that will not heal.  I am still whole, but not whole. Still myself, but a self in some kind of exile. We are in limbo and connected only by the sound of our voices on the phone. So, I am here now. She is there. We are voices in the ether. Somehow, this is a fitting living metaphor for what we are together.

This thing between us is greater than anything either of us have known before, except with each other then and now; it is simply deeper now and more mature. It is not just bodies touching, it is souls reuniting. It is bodies, minds, and spirits walking in the air of a union finally made real. The ancient thing half remembered is recognized and fully realized. It grows and becomes more with each returning, each separation, each day of creative connection. I reminded myself of these things as I waited for my plane. It was this knowledge that made me able to board the plane and come home. It is this knowing that sits with me here, makes it possible to move through this time apart. Soon, there will be no more leaving. Soon, there will be only the evolution of a life more fully shared.  That day cannot come soon enough. 

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