That all relationships require hard work to flourish is a relatively new concept for me. Also, I never used to know what the term “work” meant in this situation. I was confused by it… Did it mean self-sacrifice? Taking care of the other person? Doing housework and chores for them? Always being available? What does it mean?? Perhaps later on in life I will have an even better perspective on this, but I can only speak for what I have experienced thus far. And so far I have come to believe that most of that work consists of communication.
A band I love called The Weepies has this line in a song called Slow Pony Home:
“Now we’re cleaning the windows between us two
Funny, you do it once, and then again, and pretty soon
the fingerprints and dust…
But I’ve begun to trust the view here.”
I guess that’s kind of how I think of the work in relationships: keeping the window between us clear. Although…in that particular song, there is a complicated, unexpected ending…. Maybe the window shouldn’t be there in the first place, however scrubbed it may be…
Keeping it clean. That’s what it comes down to for me. Without that honesty and clarity it’s impossible for me to truly be intimate with someone, whether a friend or a lover. I have had my share of secretive, dishonest relationships in my life and frankly, those were the only kind of relationships I had at one point. These days, I find myself uttering things I’ve never been brave enough to say before. Heck, I’ve never even been able to conceive of such surrender and vulnerability..! But I’m not afraid of being seen anymore. Not when it comes to being seen by people I can trust. Now, if I only I were to learn to express myself as beautifully as John Keats. Although, I suppose that is a rare ability…. More like a once-in-a-thousand-years-ability… Which is why I will let him speak for me.
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
― John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny