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09 June 2015

Two on a Journey of Love and Life: A Message to a Newlywed Couple

"The Kiss" (1913) by Vsevolod
Maximovich. Image part of
public domain
Last June 8, I witnessed two people who are in love tie the knot. Like most people who know them, I was also surprised of their engagement, and their decision to inform only a few people, not even some of their close friends. They chose me to be their godfather, and I think that one of the main reasons was not that I was their closest friend but that I knew them both. In some degree, I have witnessed their harmless jokes turned into flirtation, and that blossomed into love, albeit furtive. I am only speculating but perhaps they kept their relationship a secret because they knew that many people would doubt them. In fact, some people suspect that the two newlyweds have not even reached a deeper level of affection that can be called love.

Interestingly, whether heterosexual or homosexual couples announce that they have decided to get married, some people congratulate them while others doubt the couple’s genuine affection. The following statements are commonplace. “They’re just getting married out of convenience.” “They’re getting older and they’re afraid of living alone.” “They are too young to know better.” These are just some of the common pronouncements of bystanders.

People acting on a whim without a greater feeling of love will be easily swayed to change their decisions. However, if you have reached a certain age, regardless of what other people say, and still both of you stand steadfast on your decisions, then you have to be equally strong and committed to one another. The rest of the world may never be completely on your side, especially if your family members, friends and acquaintances see your decision as juvenile, hurried and indefensible.

In the end, love boils down to two people—the lovers. The voices of consents and dissents become white noise. A couple’s journey is always a lonely one. It is just the two people on a long unknown journey that will be filled with moments of joy, pain, triumphs, frustrations, celebration, and bereavement. Nonetheless, what makes the roller coaster ride exhilarating is that both lovers are sitting side by side and holding each other without letting go. The ups and downs becomes a wondrous ride than a scary journey.

I guess it is serendipitous. At the end of the simple dinner after an even simpler civil wedding ceremony, my two newlywed friends had to say good-bye to their parents. I had to cross the street to take a tricycle while the new husband and wife waited as their parents take the jeepney. As my tricycle passed, I saw the couple looked at their parents riding the jeepney and then seeing the vehicle pulling away. In the end, it was just a man and a woman (or in some cases, same sex couples) standing alone and vulnerable on the sidewalk and holding each other’s hands. We can choose to shoot them down or we can choose to cheer them. As my tricycle passed them, I saw something most people might miss: two people really in love. If you stand on a very vulnerable place, you need each other’s strength, especially if both of you are starting at a disadvantage. That sidewalk was symbolic. Two people who only had each other amongst many strangers passing by. Wherever the two go, they will only have each other. Even with loving friends and family, their journey to life will always be thread by two souls.

I guess that sums it all. When two people fall in love and decide to live together, this has nothing to do with us. It is vanity to think we have a say in their lives. It is their journey together. They chose each other. We are not part of their choice. Nobody knows what the future brings but it will not help them if we stand blocking their journey or disappear completely from their sight. Perhaps, we can just silently hover around and keep our ears and eyes open in case they call for us.

Because someday, when it is our turn to take love’s journey with our chosen one, we do not want to be shot down. We do not want to be abandoned completely by family and friends. Love’s journey is scary enough. The brave needs company. The brave always choose love and—

“Love does not leave; love stays, and on a fucking daily basis!”

As I said to my other friend who got married a few years back, “It is easy to say ‘I love you’ or make grand gestures of love during special occasions. But the challenge is how to turn that love into loving on a daily basis.”

I am a cynic so I will always be the first person to doubt “true love.” However, I have witnessed some people get married for the right reasons but they ended up miserable and hating each other. I know some people who married for the wrong reason but eventually became happily married and contented, and even more in love than when they first kissed.

Why do these things happen? I have no idea. I am still single but my heart has been around the block (and in the gutter, and in paradise) countless times to know that you will never know true love if you do not fall—“completely fall” as Slavoj Zizek said. The answer always lies not at the end of the journey, but on the way. Sometimes, you realize that you have to end your journey and start all over, especially if you find yourself already alone in the journey because your partner has given up. Other times, you discover a surprising turn that keeps the journey more exhilarating that you have to grab your lover’s hand and say, “See there, a new turn, a new horizon.” And the two of you go!

As Jessica Lange once said, “Sometimes, you just have to let life take you on its glorious journey.”

And even if the journey is long and it seems to be going nowhere, just open yourself up to possibilities because “Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game. It's such a surprise.” That last quote is from another favorite movie of mine, “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Go watch it. It is about love after divorce.

I am still a cynic but I also noticed that cynics are sometimes the first people to defend love because they know “Love is bull shit… but it is also the best shit around!”

To the newlywed, stay true and strong on your journey.

So now, I am a godfather, again! I am not complaining. I suppose a godfather’s role is not to interfere but to be a comforting presence. No matter what happens, the two lovers have an ally in their long journey. Just don’t ask me for money. LOL!

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