Each relationship is made up of three people. The two human beings who commit to be together and the third being or living covenant they create by their intention. This being, like all of us must be nourished in order to thrive.
This covenant must be held as a sacred bond in the relationship and it needs a place to be safe and grow as the relationship grows. A safe place in a relationship is sometimes called a container, one can also think of this place as a vessel such as a chalice which would hold sacred wine. Creating a strong vessel is the key to strong relationships. Think of the relationships that you respect and admire. What is most true about them is the care they take to keep their bond, their container strong. In coming posts, I will discuss ways to nurture and create a healthy vessel for your relationship. For now please read a most wonderful story from Richard Seltzer, surgeon at Yale Medical School who tells of a couple with a very strong container in his book Doctor Stories (Amazon.com)
“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies her face post operative her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of facial nerve the one connected to her mouth has been severed. She will be this way from now on. The surgeon has followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh, I promise you that. Nevertheless to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.
Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamp light apart from me, private. Who are they? This wry mouth that I have made? Who gaze at, and and touch each other so generously.
The woman speaks…”Will my mouth always be like this, she asks? Yes, I say it will. It is because the nerve was cut. She nods, is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it, he says, it’s kind of cute.”
All at once, I now who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a God. Unaware of my presence, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I, so close, can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate hers. To show her that their kiss still works.
And I remember that the gods appeared in ancient Greece as mortals. And I hold my breath and let the wonder in.”