“True love casts out fear.” I saw this in a book I’ve been reading and I know it’s paraphrasing the Bible (1 John 4:18, actually) but the author was talking about intimacy and the idea that fear has little place in a healthy relationship. He was talking about his need for control in a relationship and how it was keeping him from experiencing intimacy. He would picture his love life like a movie, romanticizing a relationship and then try to convince himself that this is what he needed to reach the intimacy that he desired. In reality, his attempts at creating intimacy through controlling the relationship were actually hindering him from experiencing intimacy.
And then I was at the airport (still am) and decided to read some poetry, which I sometimes do, so I opened my 100 Selected Poems by e.e. cummings and read one of my favorite poems called “love’s function is to fabricate unknownness” and my mind immediately related this to fear and control and how they get in the way of intimacy and love.
Unknownness is very much opposite to control. True love gives up the need to know what’s going to happen next. Knowing what will happen, or trying to make something happen is a way of controlling the situation. To be clear, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have a plan, or that it’s wrong to have an idea of the direction in which you would like to see your relationship heading. But in a relationship in which you are trying to experience intimacy, you must remember that there are two people involved. You cannot experience intimacy with someone if you are trying to force them to be intimate. Once again, control has no place in intimacy.
An aside: Love’s function is to fabricate unknownness. What I like about e.e. cummings’ poetry is there is so much packed into each line that you can spend hours or days dissecting one sentence. Talk about a deep thinker (or should I say feeler), reading e.e. can cause your head to spin if you are really trying to take in all that he has to offer. I still haven’t moved past the first paragraph of the aforementioned poem. There’s just so much to think about in those four lines that I don’t want to move on.
Anyway, back to fear. I’d say that most people would associate unknownness with fear. How can it be love’s function to create unknownness if love is the opposite of fear and unknownness creates fear? That seems contradictory. I think a lot of us have a flawed idea of what love is. Maybe I’ll write about that next. What is love and how does fear hinder our ability to experience it?
By the way, Happy Holidays!