Saturday, March 01, 2008

Romance or Nothing

You would make me choose.   You would hope to make romance irresistible, and you would work hard, I know, but to better your odds, you'd take friendship off the table and then tell me, "Romance or nothing.   Choose."

You'd rather gamble for gold than settle for sunlight, such are the stakes that you see.   Gold is rare and coveted, and it even glistens like the sun so you would have it all, wouldn't you?   But sunlight ~ common, ordinary sunlight ~ anybody can have that.   It's no prize.   And you want a prize.

You have done this so many times, to yourself, to your lovers.   Oh, you haven't stated it in those words, perhaps, but the undertone was always there.   "Romance or nothing.   Choose."

So I did.   I hoped your words would come true: "Of course, friendship is important.   Of course, I'm your friend," even though I knew that as you said them, deep down, you didn't believe them yourself.   I felt the gamester lurking, the little demon who makes you say things because he tells you that's the way to play the game.

Well, darling, the little demon is right about one thing.   That's the way to play one game ~ the small game ~ the game for nuggets that you never win.

The illusion is so lovely, though.   The shining gold nuggets dangle before you, almost within reach.   Just a little more effort, just a little adjustment, or maybe a lot of adjustment, but look at those nuggets!   Make those adjustments, whatever it takes!   Believe what is false, avoid what is true, but adjust!   Sometimes you might touch one, just enough to make you think it's real.   But you never get close enough to really examine those nuggets, to really figure out what you're aiming for ~ certainly never close enough to win them, to finally hold your prize.

That's how romance is defined for those who play the small game.   The nuggets are out of reach by definition because phony romance is defined by the pretense of mystery.   One must pretend to increase intimacy while at the same time pretending to maintain mystery.   What a paradox.   With true intimacy, veils are lifted and secrets revealed, and the two become closer as they understand each other more truly.   On the other hand, a phony romance is served by veiling the other with illusions to gratify one's ego, with fantasies to stoke one's desire.

This is why you would make me choose ~ for your ego, for your desire, but not for the bonds between us.   Friendship values intimacy ~ the real kind.   A deeper friendship means deeper intimacy means peeling veils and letting them fall one by one.

"You see," says the little demon, "stripping off those veils!   Next thing you know you're sittin' there buck naked in stark sunlight with nothing left for fun!"   And he snorts with contempt for the fool who would settle for the glare of sunlight instead of the glitter of dangling nuggets.

It's easy to fall for that zinger.   But remember for any endeavor that humans pursue, the more you know, the more there is to know.   The more you seek, the more you find to seek.   I'll add the refinement that the more depth you explore in intimacy, the more depth you discover.   Your discovery of another human being is limited only by the equipment you bring to the task.   Even more importantly, your appreciation and wonderment of another is limited only by your ability to appreciate the wonders of this universe.

That would explain why the game of phony romance is so appealing.   People don't have much faith in their ability to appreciate subtle wonders, so they try to conjure up excitement by using romantic illusion to focus their wandering attention on their chosen beloved.   That kind of romance floats for a while.   And then it sinks.

I learned to heed the little gamester's bluff and call it.   I learned to say, "Friendship first, or nothing doing.   I want to explore what is between us with open eyes and open heart."

Yes, I'll give up the gold and settle for sunlight.   I'll choose that which is so abundant it is expected, presumed, and taken for granted, even unappreciated by some who think it's common and ordinary and no prize at all.

Sunlight, giver of life and grace of the day, is taken for granted because it is so abundant and reliable.   But that's no common and ordinary thing.   Reliable abundance makes the sun our planet's blue ribbon, number one, most important source of energy for life ~ a high prize indeed.

Let us begin with abundant sun.
Come as a friend, blessed by the day.
Let us discover between us our bonds,
Growing as lovers, blessed be our way.

~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~     ~~~

Carol Allen encourages a focus on the theme of friendship in this excerpt from her March newsletter.

Dangling earrings and heart locket as seen at

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