When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet, this is exactly what most of us demand.
For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands surrounded and interrupted by the sea, continuously visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the serenity of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.
But I want first of all - in fact as an end to these other desires - to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want in fact-to borrow from the language of the saints - to live 'in grace' as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.
Total freedom is never what one imagines and, in fact, hardly exists. It comes as a shock in life to learn that we usually only exchange one set of restrictions for another. The second set, however, is self-chosen, and therefore easier to accept.