Some Kind Of Miracle

I've been thinking a lot about love lately, most recently on hearing of a friend's breakup, but also on and off since the new year, which, not so coincidentally, was around the time R and I got back together after a few months apart. I realize that love is one of those words so overused that it's become almost meaningless, so let me be clear about what it means to me: I think it's a very intentional choice we make to open our hearts and lives to another person, making space not only for their goodness and generosity, but also for their blemishes and flaws. It's a commitment to building a life together, maybe not for a lifetime, but for as long as you are capable. It's acknowledging that your chosen partner isn't perfect, and you certainly aren't either, but that maybe perfection is an impossible ideal and we must muddle through anyway, boats against the current.

And I think it's a miracle, really, that amidst the detritus of society and our messy lives and helpless self-absorption, that two people ever manage to come together in any sort of shared understanding to build something bigger than themselves. Alain de Botton put it best, I think, when he described love as "a painful, poignant, touching attempt by two flawed individuals to try and meet each other's needs, in situations of gross uncertainty and ignorance about who they are and who the other person is."

I don't know that we celebrate that enough—love as an accomplishment, as the outcome of putting in the work to understand (to the extent possible) both yourself and a whole other person, rather than just the sheer dumb luck of some fine day crossing paths with "the one." It makes me so incredibly sad when relationships end, no matter the reason, because it feels like there's one less beautiful thing in the world. And, as Toni Morrison once said: beauty is an absolute necessity—not a privilege, or an indulgence, nor even a quest. It's what we were born for.

So if you're fortunate enough to have found someone to ride the currents of life with, hold on tight. Remember that it's not just luck that got you there. And celebrate your miracle—because it is a miracle, nothing short of one—however you can, and as often as you can.