There isn’t a child who hasn’t gone out into the brave new world who eventually doesn’t return to the old homestead carrying a bundle of dirty clothes. ~Art Buchwald
It’s coming soon, that annual ritual of sending kids off to school. It’s a time of mixed emotions for everyone. For the kids it’s a mixture of the elation of freedom, along with the anxiety of freedom. For the parents it’s a mixture of concern and sadness, albeit occasionally mixed with some relief.
After a few weeks or months of being apart, there’s often a reunion when the student returns at the next holiday. My mentor Arno talked about “the return”, or from the Hebrew, “tsuvah“. In practice it has a sense of repentance, but it translates as “return”. When Arno talked about it there was a sense of reunion with another. We go apart from each other and we look forward to the return, the reunion.
When we see our loved ones again they will have grown and become more worldly wise. They will have had encounters, only some of which they were prepared for. Tsuvah also has an aspirational meaning that when we do meet again it’s in a higher, purer state. We learn from our experiences while apart and strive to bring something of value back to our subsequent meetings.
In all aspects of our lives, including our relationships, “the return” is crucial. If we learn from our time apart, when we meet again we have something to offer. Otherwise, if we have nothing higher and purer to contribute, we begin to deplete the other person and the relationship deteriorates.
It is always my desire, but not always my practice, to bring something fresh and new to my relationships. Sameness and predictability sap the life from them. Unless we meet our significant others at a higher, purer level, unless we look forward to the return, we will tire of each other and the relationship will usually die a lingering death, even if it remains intact.