Updated: Nov 7, 2019
it’s god i want.
every morning to
my little sail.
to feel the lift.
We’re often told relationships are about compromise. I want to amend that just a little. Bad relationships are about compromise.
OK, that was a little extreme, but I wanted to get your attention.
We hold up the notion of compromise as a necessary part of a mature relationship. But it’s really our culture’s win-lose mentality in disguise. Actually, it’s more lose-lose. When two people compromise, neither gets what they really want.
We are back to my last post, “Moving the Spider,” and what Rumi urges—ask for what you really want.
That’s the only way a human can be satisfied. That’s the only way our lives can be the sumptuous meals we want them to be. We can pretend to be responsible adults who compromise and sacrifice, but secretly we know we are royalty. Secretly we want it all.
* * *
Since I wrote my last post, the power of “waiting for the third possibility” has been dawning on me as a way of living. It’s both a recognition of how much we really want and a way to get it.
Then my sweetheart told me about some friends of hers who trusted in that third possibility. I’ll call them Ann and Chris—mainly because that’s their names. Ann and Chris wanted to paint a room in their house. Ann wanted yellow. Chris wanted rust.
Neither backed down in order to be “nice” or a “good partner”—something that often leads to resentment. Nor did they blame or cajole each other to see it their way. Instead, both were open to the third possibility—the creative solution, the win-win. They agreed to wait for something to offer itself that they could both love.
That something turned out to be a copper pipe. They painted two walls yellow and two rust, and ran a copper pipe down the line in the corner where the two colors met. Somehow that line of copper allowed the yellow and rust to meet harmoniously.
* * *
The French writer Andre Gide believed that, “Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” That’s what my opening poem is about. Every morning when I write, you could say I’m looking for God to take over. I’m waiting to feel something pop up, click into place, delight, move me. I’m waiting for the wind to fill my sails.
It’s the opposite of forcing. It’s trusting, allowing, waiting. When that wind comes, it’s a surprise that feels right. It’s better than anything my rational, hammer-gripping mind could have come up with.
I think our relationships can be like this. Rather than a plodding grind of compromise and score-keeping, they can feel delightful, surprising, creative, inspired.
Like making art. Ann had an idea of what the room would look like. So did Chris. That’s like the beginning of a poem they were going to write together. But rather than forcing the ending of their creation, they trusted and waited. By acknowledging the third possibility, or the divine—it doesn’t matter what you call it—the ending of their poem was a beautiful surprise.