Some thoughts from André Gorz’s book Letter to D: A Love Story.
On love and life together:
I understood that pleasure is not something you give or take. It’s a way of giving yourself and calling forth the gift of self from the other person.
What captivated me about you was that you opened the door to another world for me.
You gave all of yourself to help me become myself.
You opened up the richness of life for me and I loved life through you – unless it was the reverse and I loved you through all living things (but that comes down to the same thing).
It’s fairly safe to say I probably haven’t lived up to the resolution I made 30 years ago: to live completely at one with the present, mindful above all of the wealth of our shared life.
You have to accept being finite: being here and nowhere else, doing this and not something else, now and not always or never … having only this life.
… you knew that a person who wanted to be a writer needs to be able to shut themselves away in seclusion, to make notes at any hour of the day or night; that their work with language goes on well after they’ve laid down their pen and can take complete possession of them without warning, in the middle of a meal or a conversation.
‘When everything’s said, everything remains to be said, everything always remains to be said’. In other words: it’s the saying that matters, not the said. What I’d written interested me a lot less than what I might write next.
… theory always runs the risk of blinding us to the shifting complexities of the real world.
To quote Malcom Guite one more time, here’s an excerpt from his poem ‘Maundy Thursday’, also published in The Word in the Wilderness:
In vain we search the heavens high above,
The God of love is kneeling at our feet.
Though we betray him, though it is the night.
He meets us here and loves us into light.
The familiar face of the person we live with, the quality of their steadfast covenant love, can suddenly become a window through which the face of the God who loves us in and through them shines.
Malcolm Guite, The Word in the Wilderness
Impulsive master of misunderstanding,
You comfort me with all your big mistakes;
Jumping the ship before you make the landing,
Placing the bet before you know the stakes.
I love the way you step out without knowing,
The way you sometimes speak before you think,
The way your broken faith is always growing,
The way he holds you even when you sink.
Born to a world that always tries to shame you,
Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,
I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,
Before you knew how to deserve that name.
And in the end your Saviour let you prove
That each denial is undone by love.
From: Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year
Hate has no world.
The people of hate must try
to possess the world of love,
for it is the only world;
it is Heaven and Earth.
But as lonely, eager hate
possesses it, it disappears;
it never did exist,
and hate must seek another
world that love has made.
From Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997
Wise advice on marriage from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet:
… let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone …
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
I read this amazing e.e. cummings poem (from Complete Poems 1904–1962) in Janet Morley’s The Heart’s Time this morning, only to find that it also featured as part of the Easter Eucharist led by Peter Francis at Gladstone’s Library this morning. An unexpected blessing!