At almost 30 I'm coming into that portion of life where growing has slowed down long enough for me to focus on knowing. The person that we are at 8 is so different from who we are at 18, and at 28 the mind boggles at the things we did and said and felt when we were 18.
Art has always been a huge part of my life, but more so now than ever.
I'm learning that I'm more sensitive than I ever thought and that I'm more stubborn than I ever thought, that I'm both more fragile and more determined than I ever suspected.
Tuesday a friend said, "Part of the reason most of us get married is that we feel incomplete as person."
I stopped the thought, solidified it in my mind, examined it from this angle, and that. And I realized that I may never get married. For real. I don't feel incomplete as a person. The very thought is alien to me.
No man is an island, and I'm certainly not. I love my family and spend *a lot* of time with them. I love and need my God, my friends, my cats, my books and my art. But it's not because I'm not a complete and whole person. It's because healthy, complete and whole people know that relationships and goals and interests outside themselves contribute to a happy meaningful life.
I've always loved Browning. If you're not familiar with him, you've probably heard the line "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." That was written for him by his wife, Elizabeth Barrett I love pretty much anything he wrote. My first acquaintance with him began in school with 'How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix’ and 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin'. I memorized the first one. He was my kind of poet!
Later I discovered 'Two in the Campagna', which is only, to my mind, the most romantic poem ever written! That she completes him is obvious. He expresses so much adoration that he wants to be his wife, he wants to be so tightly bound up with her that they are the same, one complete person. It's a physical, but not essentially sexual yearning:
I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs, - your part my part
In life, for good and ill.
He can't of course. His human nature limits him to being with her, and loving her. His human nature leaves him wondering what's going on inside her head, as we can never fully know with another. Even if they tell us, what they are trying to say will never be exactly what we hear.
As with our art, what we try to convey will never be exactly what the viewer, buyer, owner feels. As even with this poem.
My favorite part of the poem expresses frustration and resignation at that, but also such beauty:
Only I discern-
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.
We're all capable of seeing glimpses of infinity, and certainly of wanting it. But we're only capable of doing so much despite our yearnings. I read this, and where before I always wondered what it would feel like, now, truth be told, I'm kind of glad that my yearnings are artistic and spiritual. There's only so much of that infinite stuff a physical body can take.