the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self. The ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone, and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them, and to have believed in them, and sometimes, just to have accompanied them, for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone
It would be madness to try and live so intensely as lovers that every word and every gesture between us was a sacrament, a pure sign that our love exists despite and perhaps even because of our mortality. But we can do what the priest does with his morning consecration before entering the routine of his day; what the communicant does in that instant of touch, that quick song of the flesh, before he goes to work. We can bring our human, distracted love into focus with an act that doesn’t need words, an act which dramatizes for us what we are together. The act itself can be anything: five beaten and scrambled eggs, two glasses of wine, running beside each other in rhythm with the pace and breath of the beloved. They are all parts of that loveliest of sacraments, that passionate harmony of flesh whose breath and dance and murmur says: We are, we are, we are…
| Andre Dubus, On Charon’s Wharf
When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible. When he dies, he is hard and insensitive. When a tree is growing, it's tender and pliant. But when it's dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death's companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness of being...what has hardened will never win.
| Andrei Tarkovsky
I think of a relationship like a spiderweb, something that can look very diaphanous and tender, but that’s actually extremely strong because of the material, because of the time, because of the energy that was put into it. I love the idea of webbing. It doesn’t have to be a solid thing that we’re creating with relationships. It has to be something that is just as thick as it needs to be to hold this particular group up. A web allows things to fall through, like a sieve. Some things are not meant to be caught. The things that are meant to be caught and held will nourish us.
Love has something to do with the notion of being seen — the opposite of invisibility. The invisible, the unwitnessed, the unacknowledged, the isolated, the lonely — these are the unloved. Loving attention illuminates the unseen, escorting them from the frontiers of lovelessness into the observed world. To truly see someone — anyone — is an act that acknowledges and forgives our common and imperfect humanity. Love enacts a kind of vigilant perception — whether it is to a partner, a child, a co-worker, a neighbour, a fellow citizen, or any other person one may encounter in this life. Love says softly — I see you. I recognise you. You are human, as am I.
— Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files Issue #103