For the last few days, I’ve been considering the nature of relationships. If you consider it, every single bit of news, every thing you hear on your chosen media outlet, every EVERYthing is about relationship: to other people, between and among countries, between sports teams, among plants in a garden. As I write this, I am listening to the 49ers-Falcons football game, from which I’ve had to excuse myself because I (gasp!) like both teams. To like two competing parties is almost unthinkable for some.
For example, my younger daughter, Meaghan, has a new friend from church whom she adores. Maddie is a sweet girl and a wonderful friend from my little girl because she accepts Meg as she is, ADHD and all. My older daughter, Kierstan, also likes Maddie, and vice versa. We had a bit of a meltdown at church because Meg wanted Maddie to be hers alone. I understand this feeling. Once you have a new friend, you go through a period in which you cathect (i.e., invest your emotions) in that person. Meg hasn’t had a friend that is hers alone– ever. Since the girls are so close in age, they usually have joint friends. It’s not a bad thing– it’s just the way it is. We had a long talk on the way home from church about how Maddie is not a cup of sugar and that she can be friends with both girls. As I write this, I hear mostly happy noises coming from the girls’ bedroom where the three of them are watching a movie.
I came across a depiction of relationships today that I found very accurate. David Byrne, perhaps known more widely for his work with the band Talking Heads, penned this drawing:
I thought this depiction was particularly accurate because of the never-ending nature of the Möbius strip. Relationships go through cycles, like anything else. Right now in the northern hemisphere, we’re in winter, which as we all know leads to spring, then summer, then fall, etc. Each season blends into the next — but never in the same way, despite the lamentations and assertions of the people who analyze the weather. My point is that the relationship continues, no matter if this winter is drier/colder/wetter /warmer than the one before. Summer cannot “break up” with spring or fall just because the weather was not just right.
If you look at enduring relationships in the people you know, you may not see the cycle of relationship that matches the above depiction — but I assure you that it’s there. Long-term relationships weather the good and bad times, the days when you’re in love, and the days when it’s a good thing that your work takes you away from your home. I see it with my darling husband, my children, the friend or two that has stayed in my life, and in every other relationship that has touched my life. Sometimes the relationship doesn’t survive the “destroying” stage, and that can be tragic. Sometimes that tragedy appears on the news as some piece of domestic violence and sometimes it’s a quietly shattered heart about only which one person knows. For that one person, the end of the relationship leaves them in that weird in-between time: when you feel bereft and have no idea when the next relationship will start. It’s awkward, and like the seasons, no one relationship is ever exactly like another.
Why do you think that the Universe puts us through these relationships anyway? Is it to teach, to learn, to grow or is it to shatter the soul through defeat after defeat? I think it’s all about perspective (gosh, where have I said that before?). It depends on if you see the end of a relationship as being deemed an unlovable person or if you can see past the end of the one relationship to the potential for a new one.
Gaining that longer, broader perspective is why the Universe gave us relationships. How do I know? Because I watch the seasons change.
- Are Relationships Becoming Extinct? (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Women and Relationships Days 14-15 Surviving a Relationship Break-up (gwenrelationshipsstartwithyou.wordpress.com)