Sunday, March 16, 2008

the meaning of a pledge

I was carrying an old jaded heart, when I found love, or rather, love ran into me one late spring evening. I thought then that I knew all there was to know about life and love. I could have died the next morning saying: I have lived. I have touched the bright and the dark of life, I have laughed and I have cried, I have been on the apex and I have landed in the ditch. I have embraced, been embraced, and also, walked the lonely streets; I have filled my hands with the sunshine and the shadows of life. I have stared death in the face and had walked on towards life. My cup of experience was overflowing. So I thought...

Suddenly, just then, as it always does, love came to my life, knocking at the doors of my heart and entering like the rain, that asks no one for permission.

I thought then, I knew all the big words of love relations. I knew the 7 secrets of commitment, the 10 ways to keep the love I want, the 5 paths to happiness in marriage, and so on. After all, I had spent a lifetime close to matters of the heart. I was convinced I had mastered the very essence of the stuff that binds people together. I was used to roll out of my mouth with great ease these words: trust and commitment, love and surrender, patience and strength. I really saw myself as an expert on walking the tight rope of being open and guarded at the same time, of being vulnerable and protecting my old self from harm. I fully believed I had mastered the art of living the paradox of love.

On a spring day, unsuspecting and unguarded, walking in the park, all the reasons and excuses ran like water through my fingers and I, literally, fell in love. Those who saw me thought it was temporary madness, that with time I would get well. But the heart knows no reasons not to feel the fire. Like a warrior galloping into battle, I opened again my heart.

Her name is Jan, and she stood tall in the park; the breeze gently swaying her hair, while her words filled every space avaliable in my world. She spoke with such eloquence, with determination, with the mastery of someone who has befriended words for a long time, and she said she loved God enough to go to other side of the world to show it.

I imagined having a conversation with God.

I said to God: “I can pledge her my love”

God said: Really? What do you know about love? What do you know about giving your life for another?

I said: “I’ve been there! I know that!”

God said no more. As if with his silence he was asking me to show him what I meant.

We were bubbling with happiness at our weeding. Life seemed to make sense and be wholesome. Our future looked so bright and full...

Four months after our wedding, Jan had an aneurysm that pushed her to the edge of the precipice. It was then that I began to learn the meaning of pledging love.


Sister, where are thou?

Where are Jan's friends?

Time has crept up slowly to Jan's recovery, and with time, the innevitable dust has accumulated on her day book. She used to have full days: walking up early for her personal meditations, going to work, calling friends to firm up appoitments, going to bible studies, meeting more friends for coffee, going home and sending cards and letters to keep the ambers of distant friendhips alive, and so on and so forth.

Before her illness she had many friends of those that show up when one needs one. But her daybook these days is empty. Her phone does not ring anymore. Her friends are too busy with their lives, some have dropped out completely from her life.

She can't remember from day to day that she has to call her friends to oil the relationships. Her short term memory is not working as strong as she would like. So, if she does not take the initiative because she can't remember, she is slowly facing the reality that many of her friends will just stop calling or writing or visiting, or even remembering her name. That is the nature of relationships these days.

I wonder where are her friends. Jan's friends, where are thou?