Recent empirical research shows that individuals who exhibit high degrees of narcissism, like Neal, have difficulty integrating love and lust in a single relationship. This is also true of individuals, like Cynthia, who are “avoidantly attached” — they can’t tolerate the vulnerability of being intimate with someone on whom they are dependent, and so they create a self-protective distance from their partner.
Lawrence Josephs, When the Best Sex Is Extramarital – NYTimes.com.
Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. — Iris Murdoch
via The secrets of Iris Murdoch and John Bayley’s unconventional marriage – Telegraph.
At the back of every discussion of the good society lies this question, What is the object of human life? The enlightened conservative does not believe that the end or aim of life is competition; or success; or enjoyment; or longevity; or power; or possessions. He believes, instead, that the object of life is Love. He knows that the just and ordered society is that in which Love governs us, so far as Love ever can reign in this world of sorrows; and he knows that the anarchical or the tyrannical society is that in which Love lies corrupt. — Russell Kirk
via The Object of Life is Love.
To fall in love requires a bit of unpredictable human interaction. You have to laugh with a person, test their limits, go back and forth, touch them, reveal something true about yourself. You have to show some vulnerability, some give and take. At the very least, you have to make eye contact. It’s easier to substitute texting, tweeting or Facebook posting for these basic rituals of love and friendship because the digital route offers protection. How can you get dumped when you were never really involved?
via Timothy Egan, The Hoax of Digital Life – NYTimes.com.
One true thing is this: Faith is lived in family and community, and God is experienced in family and community. We need one another to be God’s presence. When my younger brother, Brian, died suddenly at 44 years old, I was asking “Why?” and I experienced family and friends as unconditional love in the flesh. They couldn’t explain why he died. Even if they could, it wouldn’t have brought him back. Yet the many ways that people reached out to me let me know that I was not alone. They really were the presence of God to me. They held me up to preach at Brian’s funeral. They consoled me as I tried to comfort others. Suffering isolates us. Loving presence brings us back, makes us belong.
A contemporary theologian has described mercy as “entering into the chaos of another.” Christmas is really a celebration of the mercy of God who entered the chaos of our world in the person of Jesus, mercy incarnate. I have never found it easy to be with people who suffer, to enter into the chaos of others. Yet, every time I have done so, it has been a gift to me, better than the wrapped and ribboned packages. I am pulled out of myself to be love’s presence to someone else, even as they are love’s presence to me.
via Why, God? – NYTimes.com.