Gifts from the Sea

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.

One must accept the security of the winged life,
of ebb and flow, of intermittency.

(Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea.1955)

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