10 thoughts on “Happy New Year

  1. Rilke holds that good relationships are those in which each person is the “guardian of [the other’s] solitude,” in which “a marvelous living side-by-side” develops, in which both partners “succeed in loving the expanse between them” and are thus able always to see “each other as a whole and before an immense sky.”

    Said another way, we need not bemoan or grieve over the fact that our partners do not share our every perspective and passion. We need not take such a situation as an indication that our relationship is dissonant or lacking or somehow destined to fail.

    Rather, we ought to see our differences as characteristic of the inevitable abyss between any two human beings. We ought to love this abyss, Rilke says, for it is the very thing that makes each person inimitable, the thing that allows us finally to see and celebrate one another’s distinct natures.

    Once it is understood that this expanse must always exist, each person is free to become whatever it is they will become, unburdened by the need to shape themselves to fit their partner. And this individuation need not be a growing apart.

    For if each partner can remember the beauty and necessity of the expanse, then they can come to appreciate fully the other’s peculiar wholeness. Then they bask in one other’s secret godliness and “show each other the greatest possible trust,” aware that each has been seen intimately and loved nonetheless.

    Rilke implies that the fullest, truest love is not one which restricts or reshapes each partner in the other’s image, but rather, one which liberates each person to soar as they will, unencumbered, a world unto themselves.

    1. Kevin:

      Thanks. Are you still laboring in the pit? I see that Catherine finally got her freedom. Hope you are taking care of yourself. You’re a good man.


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