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  • Intimacy requires courage because risk is inescapable.
    We cannot know at the outset how the relationship will
    affect us. Like a chemical mixture, if one of us is changed,
    both of us will be. Will we grow in self-actualization, or will
    it destroy us? The one thing we can be certain of is that
    if we let ourselves fully into the relationship for good or
    evil, we will not come out unaffected.

    ― Rollo May, The Courage to Create

    Categories are tempting: Wife, husband, buddy, boyfriend, girlfriend, friend. Each designation has its different rules and requirements, its limitations and its finalities. I take a relationship and put it into a category and then begin to treat that relationship the way I have treated other relationships in the same category in the past. It is a safe way of dealing with people, and perhaps a way of protecting my fragile emotions. It is a way of avoiding true intimacy, true connection. It is also a way of avoiding authenticity.

    A friend challenged this concept the other night. He told me that he is trying to get away from the categories altogether. I said, "Yes, but can't the idea of friend be a sort of ultimate relationship?" "Even that can be limiting," he replied. He wants to just open it all up to the deepest and most unclassifiable interactions between people. He reasons that inasmuch as each person is unique, each combination of individuals is unique, and we should approach each relationship as a thing-to-be-discovered as it grows in love and unfolds itself.

    I find this challenging, because it opens up so many possibilities, removes preconceptions, and allows real love to flourish. The potential to create something never before experienced can be scary.

    But I know he is right.

    (Photograph by Alex in the Inspire Space Park, in the 3-D virtual world of Second Life)
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