Relationships and Love

Distance and Differences- a Way to Intimacy

Rainer Maria Wilke:    Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other against the sky.

I’m not sure more can be said than Rainier Wilke’s quote about distance (differences) and love. It is beautiful; it is deep; it is true!

Please read the passage again-carefully. I cannot speak for anyone, but for me, the real relationship of love exists in these infinite distances.

Our most basic human need is to be seen and valued. And it is hard to be valued and seen if we are too busy constructing an imaginary relationship with the person we are either going to meet or are living with.

Why do we create this illusion in the first place? What motivates us to write the long lists of what we want in a partner? And how can this set us up for a major disappointment?

Partly pragmatic and partly ignorance may be the reason. And a lot of fear. We build these ideas and ideals of relationship because we want something good for ourselves. It’s natural and biologically predestined that we seek love and partnership.

I had to get real with myself. I am afraid that the person I want to be in relationship won’t and can’t see me! Your fear may be another variation, but it can be traced back to an event or perception in your own life. A belief you hold about yourself or the world.

Tracing this back and being honest with ourselves and loving ourself is key to loving another. I want someone to value and see me. But if I cannot value and listen to my own voice, I will forever be looking outside myself to find it.  I have to be rooted in a love of my own and for me this love is rooted in God. But even my perception of God can be tainted. And this involves correcting a lot of misperceptions about what LOVE is.

Without getting too heady, I’ll return to Wilke’s quote. The scenario is such that if you as a person can love from within and without, then you begin to understand and exhibit a real love for another. This love can grow strong as you set aside your ideals and projections of what you need and just sit with the person as they are, you then begin real love.

Becoming a parent has a lot of the good juices of real love, but then we can mess it up trying to form our child too much in the way we want them to be. The balance of boundaries and discipline, along with support and a place for a child to mature and bloom is why parenting is a challenge. It challenges our own needs of throwing our needs and desires upon this beautiful child we brought into the world. At some point after parenting, we have to let go and see our children as individuals with distances and differences and honor them, even if it’s not a place we think they should be. We have to love them. Then we can begin to have an adult relationship and see them against the sky.

For romantic love to be real love is not so easy, but it gets easier when you stop putting your idea of what you need and expect that person to provide and give you, and see them! And value who they are in the moment! Then as Wilke says, you can see each other against the sky. The distances (or differences) no longer are fearful or cause you to expect and demand from this other human being. Instead, you love them and in return they have a space to love you-as big as the sky!

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