Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You Want To Read A Love Story?

A Story of Slowly Kindling Love From The Start

Fr. James Farfaglia has written a beautiful book, based on what I have read so far, called “Man to Man”. The part of it that he excerpted for his blog and I copied and added my comments to, was about how men can enter into the emotional depth at the heart of their wives.

My friend Joshua, wise man that he is, read what I copied/wrote and then added a delightful excerpt from a love story that exemplifies how men loving with their hearts can develop a, in his case 35 year (and counting), love affair with a woman, and grow in joy and excitement more every day.

He makes an important point that is lost by most of us in this world we now inhabit, this plastic, fantastic universe that is a parallel universe to the Truth, and is in fact anything but fantastic. The fantastic look of it is a facade, of plywood, paint and good angles to hide its flaws.

In today's world, boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in like a little bit, and then boy and girl jump into bed, enjoy (great, mediocre, okay, passable) sex, and then decide to pursue/abandon the possibility of a relationship, based on the quality of the sex, and the post coital whatever. Hollywood portrays this all the time, in part because Hollywood only has 30 minutes for a sitcom, or 60 minutes for a drama, or 2 hours or so for a made for TV movie or a blockbuster, but largely because Hollywood, where we look to for romantic ideas is not the bastion of relationship bliss that it would like us to believe.

Well, here is a story that is like it ought to be. But, let me let Joshua tell it for you:
I hear you loud and clear. May I add something?

Perhaps the greatest mistake younger people make is to confuse the "Hollywood version" of romance, love and marriage with reality on the ground, so to speak. I've explained all this over the years to my own sons. This is how I told them about it.

Life is not an easy road; it can be very lonely. Early on, I realized that I was one of those men who needed a companion on that road.

I was barely 22 years old and already lonely. Working in a foreign country, I thought I was doing something that would fill the void. Indeed, I was so busy that I actually forgot how lonely I was. I used "action" to avoid and/or erase the lonely stillness within me.

It almost worked. So confident had I become that I decided I deserved a small vacation. I was living in Tunisia at the time, and scheduled a two week stay with friends in India (Punjab province, specifically).

Two days after I arrived, my hostess took me to a small Christian-run orphanage about ten miles out of town. "You just have to meet the young Scottish woman who has been running the place for the past year. She's quite remarkable. I'm positive you'll just love her. She's one in a million."

Moments later, I was meeting the young woman in question. As I shook her hand, I felt this terrible loneliness well up within me. She began talking about her work, and it was all I could do to not break down and cry then and there. In an attempt to protect my masculine pride, I focused very intently on what she was saying to avoid bursting into tears. Her voice rustled like satin on silk as she described the challenges of running this small orphanage of less than 30 children. And the more I listened and looked at her, the more this loneliness that I had been trying to escape seemed to loom up, then slip away somewhere. I didn't chase it down. I stayed where I was, listening and learning about this young woman's incredible life.

Hours passed as the three of us chatted. Finally, my vacation hostess indicated that it was time for us to go. As we drove away, I looked back and saw the young woman I'd just met waving goodbye. Goodbye?


The thought struck me suddenly that I didn't want to say goodbye to this young woman. I begged my hostess to turn around and return me up the road to the orphanage. Once there, I asked if it would be okay if I stayed for a few days and did some of the repairs on the building that she had spoken about earlier that day. She gratefully agreed, and it was arranged that my hostess would return to retrieve me four days later.

I've no idea what made me turn around that day, but I've never regretted it for a moment. My hostess was absolutely right! I just loved the young Scotswoman who was running that orphanage. And over the next four days, I let this woman erase the loneliness at my core. I didn't realize what was happening at the time. I only noticed how WELL and WHOLE I was feeling the longer I stuck around. Finally, we arrived at the night before my hostess was scheduled to pick me up.

We sat on the veranda which circled the small orphanage and talked late into the night. It was around midnight when I found myself telling this young woman whom I had not even kissed yet that I was in love with her, that I couldn't bear the thought of seeing her in a rear view mirror tomorrow or ever, and would she please be my wife. "Just think about it," I said to her the next day as I got into the car to leave.

She did more than think about it. She prayed about it. Three days later, the phone rang. My hostess called me to the phone. "It's for you, Joshua," she said, looking somewhat confused. I took the phone call and gained a wife, companion, fellow traveller and courageous soldier for Jesus Christ. She brought me everything that I lacked, including a closer connection with God than I had dreamed possible.

I have thanked God for His kindness every day since...

I admit that I am/we are among the "lucky ones". Nonetheless, I believe that our relationship provided our children a "template" for their own marriages. Now I thank God for my daughters-in-law and son-in-law - every day.

Thirty-five years can pass by in what seems like a heartbeat if God has blessed your love.
That story has a happy ending. But, it had a happy beginning, the dance of love that is meant to be slow, but deliberate, gentle, subtle, and persevering, to set the stage for a life filled with all those qualities, and above all wrapped in faith that that love is actually a Trinity, with Jesus Christ at the heart of it. In marriage three is not a crowd, if the third person, is that lover of all lovers and teacher of all teachers, the one who loved us to His death for us, and His Resurrection, Our Saviour Jesus.

Thank you Joshua for sharing.

1 comment:

Joshua S. said...

Dear Michael:

My wife is on an extended trip abroad right now. This year - for the second time in our marriage - we will not be (physically) together for Christmas. Family matters necessitated that my wife return to Scotland for an extended period. We'll get through it again, but it ain't EASY!

My wife called me this morning, in tears. She'd visited FREEDOM THROUGH TRUTH and read what you posted. Her precise words were the following:

"Sweetheart, that is the most beautiful Christmas present you could EVER have arranged for me. It brought back so many memories. Did I ever mention to you that I prayed every night during those first four days that you would never leave? That I knew from that first handshake that you were THE ONE?"

I assured her that she had.

"But have I told you lately?" she insisted.

"Ahem! Didn't you just make this phone ring? If you did, then you have."

Having my "most beautiful woman in the world" call me at the crack of dawn to tell me that she loves me so much that she was moved to tears got my day off to a stellar start!

Thank you, Michael. You're the first man I've ever met who has facilitated an "I love you" message between my wife and I. AND WE DON'T MIND IT ONE BIT.

God bless you! And you are so right! A good marriage can happen between two people, but it really does take a third - God Himself - to make a marriage SPECTACULAR. My wife and I know we have been blessed with one another, and that God blesses our love every second of every day.