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  • (My friend Amy recently wrote a story ("What's the word, I forget sometimes") in which she's recognizing a strength blossoming within her new, post-relationship reckoning. It's a beautiful story. This is my response to her...)

    So. That relationship is over. You did everything right. It didn't work. Or maybe it wasn't a plan at all. Just you spending time with someone you love. Hoping that would be enough for that more-thing. "...nor did six months topple him." You're right that's a brave thing to say with such candor and hint-of-peace.

    But now, as you yourself have written, you need your words. And you're asking for one. You mention that pride humbles. But that doesn't quite sit right with me. There's much about that paradox that resonates for me, but there's more in it that doesn't. Post-pride humility is most often born of pain, failure, mistakes, etc. The traditional pitfalls of pride. And you're no more prone to those flaws than I am. But this time--and you're right to sense this--you did everything right. And though you lost a relationship, your reward is a humble strength. You know your plan is sound when it doesn't have to work to reward you.

    But still, you ask for a word. Tenderer than pride. "...that kind of vision that suffuses itself." Again, you've asked your way into another paradox. You want vision. Language. Suffusion.

    Start with light. It travels. Over distance; over time. From a source. Away from that source. To suffuse that light is to fog that movement. To slow it to a stop. To surround yourself with it. But vision is not light. Vision is where light arrives. Vision seaches for, welcomes, and harbors light. Vision is where light diffuses. Meaning is the product of light and your vision.

    But you're not asking for meaning. I think you already know the important thing at the center of your reckoning. And you know you're close. Vision and suffusion and words. To say something. But to say anything is to have a point of view. A still place from which to see the turning world. A dancer hearing music. She dances. She is not the dance nor the music. The music is not the dance. And yet, there is the dance. Maybe the dance is the music diffused in the dancer. But there are no words for it. No instruments to explain it. And yet... there is the dance.

    Around the dancer, there are instruments and players. She has her feet and elbows and hips. But she has something more. She can here the music. Like you can see the light. And feel your own strength. What she does with with the music, you do with the light and your strength.

    And the rest of the world--what parts of it that love you--diffuses you.
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