Absence diminished mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and kindles fire. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld
What does that mean?
In this season of holiday celebration, there are many who are away from the ones they love and whom they care about. This quote is about the power of absence on a relationship, for both good and ill.
The first pair (mediocre passions & candles) is about the lesser loves in our lives. The number of College (or University) ‘crushes’ that end over the holidays is probably absolutely massive. The absence allows the tiny flames in the heart to go out. So it often is with the lesser passions.
The other pair (great passions & fires) is about the true and strong loves in our lives. The fire doesn’t go out, but remains strong and centered, even though you may be spending time away from each-other. Like a fire, the wind only serves to drive the fire to new heights. If you don’t believe me, just watch the reunions of military families after a deployment.
Why is withstanding the test of time important?
All of us will face a situation where we’re away from our loved ones for a time. The people who really matter, the great passions in our lives, will be there for us, and we for them. The time away will build our desire and longing, and burst like an overfull dam when reunited.
However, if our passions are mediocre (or less), the time away will allow the flame of passion to diminish or even go out. We will be distracted by nearly anything else going on, and time, like the changing tides, will eventually wipe it out.
If you can withstand this test, you will have at least some proof that there is something there in your life, that what you have isn’t a completely frivolous activity. That’s not the only test, of course, but if you can hold on for a few days, weeks, or even months, you’re in pretty good shape.
Where can I apply this in my life?
You probably already have, even if you didn’t recognize it as such. Have you ever been to summer camp? Perhaps a retreat or camp-out over a weekend? How was your relationship with your siblings or parents? If it was about the same, you passed the test, right?
About 10 years ago, I spent 9 months in a city two hours away, because that’s were the jobs were. I saw my family only on the weekends. It wasn’t much fun, but we survived, both financially and emotionally. Eventually I got a job back home, and moved home. Everyone was much happier.
About two years ago, my wife had to take a job in that same city, as that was where her job was at the time. Since then, we’ve been together only on the weekends. It’s harder on the kids than on me, as they were rather young last time, so they aren’t as practiced. But we’re doing as well as can be expected, and are looking forward to when she can move back home full time.
Military families are a little more used to this, although it probably hurts a bit more, as their loved ones go away for months at a time, and are often in harm’s way. For the rest of us, business trips are the most likely reason for being away, along with separate family visits. If when you get back, things are still strong, you’ve passed the test of time.
That doesn’t mean things don’t change. The one constant in the universe is change. Both people change with time, but as long as they’re not going in different directions, it should be reconcilable. The longer the absence, the more important it will be to reestablish the connection after the reunion.
For longer term separations, it may require rebuilding the relationship from scratch. That’s fine. Get started all over again. Shared experiences and hobbies are probably what started the relationship, so that would be a good place to start.
What if it seems too difficult? I picked back up with people I hadn’t seen in the 10 years since my last High School reunion, so I know it can be done. Yes, it might not be pleasant. Yes, they may have developed some odd or obnoxious habits in the time you were apart. Work with them on it.
Yes, you can call it quits, but I’m not a quitter. It’s just not in me. Find what you do both still like and start there. Build up the relationship from that kernel, from that small flame. You can make it a fire again, but it will take some effort. But it’s worth the effort, in my opinion.
Life will always have challenges for you. But if your love is strong, if your passions are great, you will find (or make) a way to bring back the flames. If it was strong to begin with, not even a hurricane can destroy your passion. It might blow out the flame, but it will also serve to fan the embers. All that is required is for you to add new fuel.
From: Twitter, @thequote
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/f/francoisde106523.html
Photo by feesta