The game-show contestant has to choose one box out of four. Only one of the boxes contains money, the others nothing. Becoming increasingly agitated and distraught she finally cries out, “How do I know?!” and runs off the stage and out of the studio, leaving the unsolved mystery behind.
Westerners do not do well with mystery, often feeling that it is something to be conquered or solved. When we come to realize that we can do neither, when we experience that mystery exists on its own terms, many opt for the game-show contestant’s solution of cut-and-run. This is as true of the mystery at the heart of relationships as it is of game-shows.
In the beginning of a relationship it’s all glitter and fireworks and there is nothing objectionable about the other, this person who we often refer to as “our other self”. But the day eventually comes when the relationship has run out of fireworks, the glitter has tarnished, and the mystery of the other has become an annoying presence in the relationship. If we are devoted disciples of our current culture with its emphasis on feeling good, we take our discomfort to mean that something is wrong, a something that we cannot identify, which makes us even more uncomfortable. Is it the other? Is it me? Is it us? How to know?
Too often we cut-and-run from relationships. We search out a new relationship which will “feel” better. But every relationship inevitably arrives at the mystery of itself… and then what? We can spend our life running from what we don’t understand, or we can stay in the presence of the mystery. In other words, we can surrender to the relationship and let it take us somewhere, a somewhere which is not a port at which to arrive, but rather a journey. If we choose to stay then the day when we realize that our life’s journey has changed us we may well find someone else by our side who still recognizes the person we were within the person who we have become.
How we can be both at once… is a mystery!