Or, so the story goes. The first time I heard this phrase it rocked my world in a resonatingly painful way. Yet, it was only very recently that I was reminded of it—from the relative distance of looking on from a vantage point of another relationship of a person very close by—and it finally made more sense to me.
All relationships ebb and flow. Some just reach breaking point. Others never do, the flaming candle burning all night long unto the innocent morning (a.k.a. the end of life). And whilst the blessing often goes unnoticed, the strained cries of others bring notice of torment to those watching on—perplexed as to what to do or say. And almost nothing can be said. It need only be endured.
As two souls enjoined—identities fused—there occasionally commences a tearing. It starts with one partner or both, but neither fully connects it. It whips through unattended until the throb of hurt is loud enough to make its presence fully known—at times too late (but whilst there is effort there is hope).
There’s an independence of autonomy in its demeanour. Neither partner experiences this burning stick of dynamite in quite the same way, so they’re disconnected, even ex-communicated, from one another. Like two ships passing in the night...
Sometimes one slinks by whilst the other waits... then the waiting ship—the one at anchor—decides on venturing to another port, giving up on the hope of berthing. By the time the original ship realises, the other set sail long ago and time’s passes too soon.
And perhaps even more commonly we find the one partner crashing with identity crisis (be it depression, midlife crisis, ambition or literally a myriad of others) whilst the other is never more devoted to the task that began “a while back,” a task that has a full lifetime to run. This is the partner who’s committed to the bitter or beautiful end—either journey suffices. They simply will not and do not quit!—though at risk to their own mental and emotional health.
Yet, out of my own experience, we hold onto the hope... if there’s one sane and steady partner in this venture of ship manoeuvring, the relationship (which is an entire world of its own—thinking of it as a “living system” i.e. family) has at least half a chance. And we believe this. The math computes. The numbers are good provisional to capsize. Poseidon’s do occur. (That is 50 percent isn’t the “pass mark” for a relationship, effort-wise. Fifty percent is a capsize.)
I believe in recovery and I always will. I believe it’s a long process, but a process not devoid of potential for eventual bliss, come what may. And a long-achieved victory enhances the feeling of exhilaration when a couple does look back, knowing that in love all things can be conquered.
We live life and we take what comes, and one day at a time we deal with the problems we can. We hope and pray. And this is plainly all we can do. We’re relieved to know this and to just simply do it in the best way we can.
© 2009, S. J. Wickham.