14 Feb 2014, 2:24pm
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happy valentine’s day!

in honor of the day and of the note i received from the multnomah county circuit court two days ago confirming the dissolution of my marriage, here are a few things i learned about love by getting divorced:

* certainty is not the same thing as security, and neither can be manufactured.

* happiness with one’s own life circumstances, or at least a sense of agency in changing or improving them, is a necessary condition for commitment to another person.

* mistakes are rarely disasters and are often opportunities for growth and discovery.

* the world you imagine when you feel ashamed is not the real world; the people who love you are forgiving and understanding.

* avoiding vulnerability is antithetical to intimacy, just like avoiding things that scare you is antithetical to growth. take courage.

* “icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph.” (see below.)

hope your day is full of love of all kinds: self-, familial, platonic, romantic. i am grateful to have so much of it in mine.

***

Failing and Flying
by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

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