Why do you need to confirm what you already know?
Ask instead why they do not ask the questions that occur to them.
Wonder why they so easily abandon those they love.
Ask what kind of love this is,
Which requires they forsake each other
In order to embrace another."
In a town like any other there came to live a man. He was a good man who worked hard and did all that was required of him. He came to love a woman with all his heart and they were married, but several years after their wedding she was taken by death. He mourned her for many years, living in almost complete solitude, struggling to understand why she had been taken from him so soon. He closed himself off to the world, insulated himself against the idea that he could love again, and later died alone and in misery.
In the same town there was another man. This man was also a very good man and he too lost his wife while he was still young. Not long after her death, he met another woman who comforted him in his mourning and restored not only love in his heart but also helped him to believe in himself and the world as he had when his wife was alive. They found happiness together, started a family and grew old together in a place they built and cherished.
These two men happened to be brothers. The first looked down upon the second, strong in his belief that in taking a second wife he had dishonored the first. The second felt pity for the first, wanting very badly for him to in some way find happiness and peace in his life as he had.
Depending on your personal beliefs, you may see the path of one of the brothers as right and the other as wrong. You may feel driven to judgment, but is one brother right and the other wrong? In the modern world, more people would support and embrace the second brother and feel sorry for the first. In another era, that would be reversed.
There is a certain mindset that sees the second brother as forsaking his first wife in favor of the second, but has he really? Here we must ask ourselves a difficult question. What is the most important element of love? Is it the desire to see those we love find happiness and peace or is it an eternal commitment of loyalty.
Perhaps it is both and this is where we lose our way.
I have seen what happens when two people bound by love enter into a commitment that joins them "until death do we part." Sometimes they leap into this commitment before they know and before they understand. Sometimes the nature of that love and their shared connection changes because love is evolutionary. In the fast moving modern world, things change more often than they stay the same.
Is there a benefit to two people remaining locked into a lifelong contract at the expense of sacrificing what initially brought them together? This is a question I often ask when I see a married couple that has grown to resent and even hate each other. They sometimes remain together, slowly killing the love that brought them together, because they believe the commitment they made is more important than love itself.
I believe that love, which grants us the power to give everything you can to everyone you know, is more important than any of the trappings that surround it. Yet we impose limits upon love, just as we impose limits on forgiveness, acceptance and patience. We place these artificial limits because of what we have learned and what we have been taught is true and right.
The decisions I make in life are based on a vow I took some years ago to never turn my back on anyone I love or to deny anyone what I can freely give. I do not believe that any ceremony, sacrament or rite can trump love itself. At the same time, it is important to understand the evolutionary nature of love and how it manifests itself in different ways. This is why I believe I was sent to Orlando in order to face the riddle of the three queens.
I was presented with three women, all of whom I came to love very deeply for different reasons. Each of them was unique and brought something to me that I needed. The mistake I made was in believing that I needed to make a choice. One of them was the reason why I was in Orlando. One of them was the answer to the riddle. As I put my energy into one, I closed the other two out. This confused matters and made the answer unclear. Each of the queens, in her own way, wanted to be the reason I was there and wanted me to answer the emptiness they had inside, and each of them came to believe they were not the reason I was there. What I failed to realize at the time was that it was not one of them. I was there for all three. We are trained to make choices and to see things as having simple, black and white answers, because we often come to believe one person holds the answer to what we seek and become disenchanted when we learn they do not.
I sensed that I had failed in my mission and that sense of failure was framed within a chain of events that brought me to rock bottom. I had moved away from home, to a city where I had no real foundation, in order to follow a vision and now I had failed.
Perception sometimes clouds the mind.
Failure is not failure if we learn something in the process. Without having stumbled we do not know what it means to stand and walk straight.
Not one of the Orlando queens was meant to spend her life as my life partner. They all had different roads to travel, and I already knew who my life partner was. Knowing this, I still attempted to change this because I was attached to a single interpretation of the riddle. If you deeply and truly love another person then you are supposed to seek a bond with them and forsake all others, right? I don’t believe that anymore.
I took a vow of marriage in the summer of 2001. This was done in the spirit of give everything you can to everyone you know. My wife was very young and overwhelmed by the difficulty she had in pursuing her dreams in a foreign country. I considered her to be very brave and very resolute. We needed each other very much, for different reasons, when we met and fell in love. She faced adversity and unkindness in her quest and had reached the point where she was considering giving up on her dreams and resigning herself to a life that would have left her very unhappy. I had the ability to change that, but to do so I had to marry her, otherwise she would have had to return to her country and her parents to live a traditional and restrictive life. This would have been too much for her to endure. It would have been the end of her dreams and if I could help her realize those dreams, in even the smallest way, I would do so.
It did not matter that this young woman from Costa Rica was here working full time while pursuing advanced education in her field because she could take it no further in her home country. It did not matter that she spoke three languages and was working very hard to become truly fluent in English. It only matter that she was married to an American citizen. If you want to talk about the sanctity of marriage I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in.
I love my wife very much, but after two very good years together, we drifted apart. We were too different and had different roads to travel, but in the interim we learned much from each other and had a positive effect on each other’s lives. We reached the point where staying together was no longer good for either of us. We began to argue about silly, meaningless things, grow irritated with each others’ presence and feel an overwhelming need to move on that only compounded the problems we had. If we had honored our marital vows and stayed together we would have grown to resent each other and would have suffocated the love between us. Instead, we parted, and since that time we have learned to appreciate and value that love far more than we did during our difficult final year together.
It is this puzzle that I often seek answers to. We hold ourselves to certain laws, certain standards and follow ritualized truths as if these worldly things were sacred. What is more important to preserve, the social construct of marriage or the love that exists between two people? For two souls to suffocate and grow bitter in order to honor a vow makes little sense to me when the option exists to keep the spirit connection alive by honoring each other’s needs. We are here to help each other and give each other all we can, and so I believe we must accept the changes within each other and move on rather than holding on tightly to that which has passed.
All too often I see people destroy each other. Why is it that people who once claimed to love and cherish each other turn against each other? My faith involves traveling the energy that begins at a source we often personify as God. We control the flow of that energy, and we affect the way it flows from us into others. If that energy begins as a positive and becomes strong, it invites equally strong flows of negative energy, the reduction energy of chaos. Sometimes the nature of powerful energy makes us feel vulnerable and exposed as it leads us to open ourselves and share ourselves with those we believe we can trust. That vulnerability impacts the soul dragon, the protector of our most fragile elements, and if we feel betrayed, dishonored or disappointed by those we have allowed access to, the dragon rises. We defend ourselves most rigorously against those we feel most threatened by. Those we feel most threatened by are those who know and understand our most vulnerable elements.
We tend to see things in black and white with "yes" or "no" answers. My marital vow involved saying that I would love and cherish the woman who became my wife for the rest of my life and I have not broken that vow. I believe I have kept the vow in a way others who feel commanded to remain together under the same roof while slowly and surely coming to resent each other do not. I once understood the need to either stay with someone or degrade them. It involves a simple means by which one can resolve their own turmoil and shine a light on their decisions as being the right ones. We highlight the weaknesses and the mistakes made by those we have parted ways with. This makes us feel better about the decision and the outcome because it is harder to explain that it was simply time for both partners to follow a different path. Shifting the blame to others is easier than admitting you failed, but the only failure comes from discarding and degrading those we have claimed to love.
I am often reminded of the story of Christina. She came into my life like a hurricane, igniting great passion between us, but that passion was short-lived. That passion created a deeper connection between us that had nothing to do with the desire it created. The passion drew us closer, much closer than we ever would have been without it, and we shared elements of ourselves we never shared with anyone else. Things changed, and the passion, which burned with a savage ferocity, began to smolder and drift into the ashes of memory. We each faced trials in our lives that made us unable to be there for each other. At first there was anger in the form of resentment. We who had become so close and so intimate could not help each other in our time of need. That resentment led to a parting, a parting resolved a year later when we saw each other again. We realized there was still love between us, even if the passion and the fire had gone. We realized we still meant a great deal to each other and it would be a waste of that passion if we did not allow it to foster a true friendship between us. The anger and the resentment were a negative reflection of the passion, which we both had wanted to maintain but could not, and like the passion it was something that had passed. If we had not come to realize this before she died two years later, everything we had between us would have been in vain.
Love your neighbor. Love your enemies. Deeds, not words. Never stop. Love remains long after all the trappings, garments and jewels you have dressed it in are being sold in the pawnshop at the end of time.