"Love needs reality."

Heather is away camping this week, which has led me into thoughts about detachment again. But reading Weil's Gravity and Grace this morning, I began to see that detachment is not so much about letting go of good things, but discovering them as they really are:

Perfect detachment alone enables us to see things in their naked reality, outside the fog of deceptive values [the false, imaginary values we put on things or people]. That is why ulcers and the dung-heap were necessary before Job could receive the revelation of the world's beauty.

In other passages, she again points to the connection between reality and beauty, and also joy and love:
Beauty and reality are identical... Joy and the sense of reality are identical.

Love needs reality. ...The poet produces the beautiful by fixing his attention on something real. It is the same with the act of love. To know that the man who is hungry and thirsty really exists as much as I do--that is enough, the rest follows of itself.

Friendship cannot be separated from reality any more than the beautiful. It is a miracle, like the beautiful. And the miracle consists simply in the fact that it exists.

Too often we feel forced to "face reality," like slaves. For instance, when we are separated from a loved one, or experience some other suffering or loss. But separation (or loss) is not meant to make us bitter or make us flee from reality. It is meant to help free us from "the fog of deceptive values" so we can better see things and people as they really are. And love them because they exist, and because our relationship, our friendship with them, exists.

Heather exists, even if she is not with me. Her existence is beautiful. And our friendship exists and is beautiful, even if it is not tangible and even if I cannot interact with her at the moment. It is as real and beautiful as the earrings she forgot and left laying on my desk. Their tiny existence reminds me.

In all things God invites us to see the goodness and beauty in what really is, and find joy in that and will its goodness with God. We are not forced to do this. But God wants us to share this with him, like friends:
"No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (Jn 15.15)
So we can see what God sees, and love what God loves.