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The Gospel According to St. John | 2010 | Boy, Uninterrupted

11.05.10 4:00 p.m.

Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience.  

-Mahatma Gandhi


The Tomorrow After That

Xen kissing Melanie  
Kissing is pretty awesome.

Children ought to be praised for their effort rather than their innate skill. If a child is only noted for innate aptitude, he or she will stop dead when encountering a challenge not easily surmounted. They may undergo an identity crisis, because they've proven to themselves that others were wrong for believing in them. For the most part, America seems to be a nation of people praised for not doing much of anything, resentful whenever something is a little above their limited reach, inclined to abandon ship at the slightest wave.

When a child who is praised for effort comes to a challenge, he or she doesn't give up or give in. Since their tenacity and persistence has been reinforced, they soldier on and try to figure out how to beat the challenge, because that would fortify their reputation as one who tries.

Similarly, a lot of people decide that the first sign of conflict in a relationship means this isn't a "perfect" relationship, that their partner isn't "the one", and that it is nigh about time to find "the one" elsewhere. A perfect relationship is one where, when a challenge is encountered, both parties work together to solve it, because their love is better than the current pothole. A relationship with no bumps is one that has never had cause to be proven, one that may well shatter with the slightest jostling. A perfect partner is simply one who loves you enough to work with you to build a perfect relationship together.

Buddhists talk of extinguishing the ego, Christians of turning oneself over to God. It has been my instinct to relinquish myself to love, both romantic and platonic. I won't deny that much good has come from this, as I have steered my life to what will best accommodate love in my life. Most everything - appearance, professional success, physical heath, literary achievement - comes from a desire to be more worthy of love. Perhaps that is the core of what all of us do. Perhaps not.

There comes a point of no return in a relationship, when the love is so great that you are no longer the person who entered the relationship, but the person born of the love. Hopefully you are better, stronger, more who you want to be. Sometimes, this moment in your life passes quietly, something you just realize one day. Others never undergo it, but their relationships are no less successful for its lack, just different. But those who have committed themselves to the relationship as much as to the other person cannot help but try to ford together what rivers life throws in their way.

Couples encounter crises both external and internal and they can only survive if they persist in reacting with compassion, realizing the other party is making things no harder than they have to (as long as one is not dating a game-player, in which case, why is one dating a game-player?). One holds the hand of the person struggling when they need love and lets them go when they need a bit of space. It is a long journey and there is no Happily Ever After, just Happily Working Toward Tomorrow and the Tomorrow After That. Sometimes, one needs only to see beyond the lip of the depression in which one sits, in which one's lover sits, if one is to see that tomorrow. One day, both will stand on a path of their own making, this path they have fought to find together whether or not they realized it at the time. It gets better every day, even if it feels one is walking deeper into a dark forest without a map, because one is not walking into it alone.

Soon in Xenology: Maybe a job, therapy.

last watched: Brazil
reading: The Mothman Prophesies
listening: Yann Tiersen

The Gospel According to St. John | 2010 | Boy, Uninterrupted

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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