We want so badly to share our innermost experience with our loved ones, but often, like the mermaid, we forget that not everyone can go where we go. Indeed, we all share this mysterious fact- that no one else can go into our depth completely. We must travel there alone. It is where we commune with God. We must, each of us, return to our inmost element in order to survive. Frequently, we judge each other for not coming along, even take such an inability as rejection, when in fact, if we are kept out of our native element too long, we will suffocate or drown. The living terrain of relationship actually exists in the overlap of our inmost natures. The mermaid and lad return to embrace where the deep and air meet. It is the mermaid’s responsiblity of love to bring her treasures to the surface where they can be shared, and the lad’s obligation to rinse his treasures in their common surf. In this way, every authentic relationship becomes a home where we return from our solitary communions with God. Never was this clearer to me than wheeling Anne, my partner of twenty years, to the operating room where she would have surgery for cancer. I went as far as I could and watched her grow smaller through the glass doors. I realized then, that whether it be our quarrel with God or with dead parents or with the limitations of our humanity, each of us must go beyond the glass doors of our experience alone. And the work of compassion is to guide our dear ones as far as we can and to be there when they return. But no one can go beyond the glass doors for or with us……..Mark Nepo
our essential loneliness can tease us into irretractable heartache…..this healing we grapple with is another side to ‘letting go’….to trusting in the flow of this life…..walking alone does not mean being alone…..
The inner life of any great thing
will be incomprehensible to me
until I develop and deepen
an inner life of my own.
…Parker J. Palmer