There are so many moments in a life that go without noticing, but the moments I remember the most clearly, the ones that stick in my mind and are seared on my heart, are those moments in which I have shared a closeness, shared an intimate moment with a significant other. A touch of the hand on the aching back of a laboring mother—the cool promise of scented cream to ease the pain. The gentle kiss of my Husband at dawn. The tug of little ones at my leg looking for a lift up. The feeling of a hairbrush at the nape of my neck or the tickle of a whisper in my ear. The heady scent of country roses growing with wild abandon along the roadside—then the lingering scent of the same tucked into a basket, there to remind me of my mother.
All these and more are what life is about in its gentler moments.
Perhaps these intimate moments are more concrete, as those which have been shared with a child. I will never forget the trip my daughter and I took to Summerside one sunny morning, so as to get her initial assessment completed for braces. Although the morning got off to a bumpy start (while rushing to get to the appointment on time, I ended up getting pulled over by the RCMP only to be immediately released with a smile and a warning). We ended up having a conversation on the drive home that broke me, opening a flood of tears that washed down my face as we talked and shared. I still feel the closeness we discovered between us that day has left us both knowing each other more deeply. It changed us somehow.
For the better.
Herein is intimacy: a closeness of hearts. A deep knowing that surpasses the superficial. It is relationship, empathy to the soul.
When I consider what it is that humans need for sustenance and hope, indeed, for survival— it is intimacy that comes to mind. The wonder of knowing each other in deep connection. The mystery of building affection and understanding for one another and cultivating a specific affinity for the significant others in our lives. The incredible marvel it is to feel familiarity and harmony in a world that is becoming more and more distant and unknown.
Over the years of my living, I have searched for this connection. I have ached for it, longed after it. Sought it and fought for it. And after years of desiring intimacy with those I hold closest and dearest to my heart, I have discovered that it is not easy to come by. Intimacy must be cultivated. It takes time and patience, and it is only gained by taking care to nurture its delicate existence. If we crave intimacy, we need to take the extreme measures to allow for it to flourish. The proper environment must be maintained so as to allow for the health of intimacy. The exact qualities of mind and presence also garnered to provide nourishment.
Intimacy is all about knowing. To know something, know someone: we must invest.
Intimacy is found in all relationships, but in marriage it has a special quality. It’s not about sex or physicality so much as it is connected to the mind. It is caring for one another at its very deepest. Thus, it becomes the desire to know the other in ways that transcend the physical. And when we come to find this intimacy in marriage with our lifelong partners of choice, we realize in deeper ways that the love and commitment we share with one another mirrors the relationship and closeness that is possible with God. Intimacy with God is the ultimate. It is the prototype for all other forms of intimacy.
Too often, we fail to give honor to the role intimacy could play in our relationships. We focus on the trivial and the mundane and we forget the sacred. Intimacy pushes us to look inside ourselves, and this is not easy. In a world that is more concerned with speed and greed, the time needed so as to cultivate intimacy seems like a great indulgence. Being still and in the moment. Asking questions. Fostering a spirit of gratitude…all these and more open the door to seeing the possibilities that intimacy offers those who take the time to really know and understand.
I am still working at intimacy in my deepest relationships. For some reason, those relationships that fall to the periphery of my life are sometimes the easiest to cultivate an intimate climate for sharing and caring. The closer we are to a person, the harder it might be to maintain intimacy. For this cause, we must strive toward a more intimate understanding of those we love…inquiring of one another for answers, even when we think we already know what that answer might be. Looking deep into each other’s eyes, even when we feel we’ve already seen all there is to see. Really listening. And then finding in one another the reason to continue searching, even amidst the noise and chaos that life has to offer.
There is always more to a person than we first believed. There are always further depths to discover and longer climbs to take with one another. Greater heights to reach for, and yes, deeper valleys in which to rest. Life changes us and we are always in flux. So it is all the more necessary to continue the journey together, doing so with intimacy… because this knowing one another will lead us closer together even as life takes us further forward from where we last have come.
Yes, herein is intimacy: it is indeed a closeness of hearts. The deepest knowing we can know that surpasses the superficial. It is relationship, empathy to the soul.
And it begins there in our soul, in a place where God finds us at our most authentic, continuing on from there, forever into eternity. Allowing us to be known by Him and then again, by others, even while we are forever a mystery waiting to be discovered, as time goes on.