Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Friend

I am lucky that at any given time in my life, there has always been someone who has faith in me, just one person who doesn't doubt me, or my strength, or my abilities. Who that person is constantly changes, for people have always lost confidence in me, but when one has left, another one always has come. A person, who can see who I am and yet still trust that I can carry myself on my own two feet, and still trust that I haven't lost sight of God, that trusts that I have the wisdom to live life and live life well. Basically, someone who lets me live my life, and offers his support rather than control, cynicism, or fickle expectations.

I thank God incessantly for always giving me a shadow of Him to look upon whenever I despair and consider using the sea of doubt created by my family as an excuse to drown.

In this broken world are people slowly repairing themselves, who have hearts of love, and those hearts willing them into helping another repair herself.

A friend helps me realize that this life is not a test from God. We do not have to prove ourselves worthy before Him. We do not have to win His love. And there is no loneliness to overcome. All there is to prove is His greatness, to ourselves. We are already great. We are already loved. There is nothing to reap. All there is, is to water the earth and the souls therein, with the overflow of His love and Divine Friendship.

Thank You, and you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Take on Marriage

You know, I wonder all the time, how can two people be in love with each other even after they've spent the majority of their lives with one another? How can you constantly have this person in your face at all times and never get sick of him? How can one have a perfect marriage? It's quite silly of me to suggest this, since I've never even been in a romantic relationship and I am not quite old enough or mature enough for marriage. But, nonetheless, I think marriage is about becoming an absolute expert on one person and loving every single little piece of information about him.

After all, that's how God loves us, right? He knows more about me than I ever will, and He is still absolutely and madly in love with me, and always will be. So how can another human being successfully attempt to reach such an infinite height of love? Well, the more you know about the ins and outs of a person, the harder it is to love them--at least, that's what I've concluded in the few years I've been on this land. It is easy to unconditionally love some stranger on the street, or someone on the other side of the world that you've never met, but it is so much harder to unconditionally love those people who are always in your face, your family; your mom, your dad, your sisters, your brothers, whomever. Naturally, I would think, if it's hard to even love these people, when at the very least you don't have to share a bed with them every night, how hard is it going to be to love this guy for the rest of your life whom you aren't even blood-related to?

As the priest of my church has said before, even if you spent 300 years talking to a person, you will never completely understand him. The key, I suppose, is to never, at any point in your marriage, assume that you know everything about the person, and that there isn't a lot more to learn. The key is to never let that love and eagerness to understand this person fade.

I went to a wedding reception once where the couple decided, instead of giving the bouquet to some random girl who wants to find "the one," give it to the oldest and most experienced couple in the room. After weeding out the eldest couple, they asked them for a piece of advice, and the couple told them: "Treat everyday like you're on a date." And what is the purpose of a date? To spend time with and learn more and more about a person.

Newlyweds are always madly in love with each other because at that point, they've got the best of both worlds. This man is the center of her life, and she is the center of his life. They love everything about the other person because they don't know much about the person, and the stuff they do know about one another that they find annoying, they can avoid or ignore because they still have space and independence. They say the first month is the best part of marriage, and the first year is the worst part. In the first month of marriage, the illusion is still there, and of course the sex adds a whole new dimension to the relationship. Then once they get back down to earth a bit and start having to give up their independence, and start realizing that it can't constantly be "me! me! me!" but must be "us! us! us!," differences must be compromised and sacrifices must be made whether they like it or not. Then once they get the hang of compromising, it's not so bad anymore, but they are still jaded from that first year and still try to hold on to that independence. But, if they are both open-minded and humble and willing, the beginning year(s) might be a little bumpy, but then they learn and grow together and it all gets better.

Marriage is such a beautiful thing. The purpose of marriage is to have a companion that will lead you to your salvation, and to procreate. In monasticism, you struggle to learn more and more about God, struggle to sacrifice your will for His, and struggle to love Him more and more. In marriage, you struggle to learn about, sacrifice for, and love this other person, and by learning about him, sacrificing for him, and loving him, you constantly practice the love of God, and therefore become more like God, loving Him more. To love others is to love God. Ah, and then, you make new people together, that you must teach to love God!

Just as improving your relationship with God is a constant learning and sacrificial experience, improving your relationship with your spouse is also. The only difference is, loving God doesn't really have to be mutual, since God doesn't have to learn how to love you, only you him, but marriage must constantly be equal, the two must be running side by side at all times. The two must be utterly fascinated with one another, and consequently utterly in love with every little thing in each other.