Friday, August 9, 2013

Essay: The Aisle

Dr Kristine Molina-Doria
co-author, Philippine Literature Today: A Travelogue and Integrated Approach. 
“Here comes the bride…all dressed in white…”

This one famous line is universal, yet it is not common. They say, it is because it is only for the chosen, the truly loving, the brave, and the dreamer, who truly deserves it.
The wedding march is an embodiment of the world’s musical masterpieces that ushers the beginning of a new world, it speaks of a new life. Mendelsohnn, Bach, Beethoven et al vied for the ultimate expression for the occasion, the same way Brahms perfected the Lullaby, Handel the Alleluia, and Mozart the Requiem..

Actually the aisle-to-altar distance is the longest road on earth; time simply stops and throbs with the sweetness of “leaving and going,” a journey traveled but once beyond the ritual. It is the only one of its kind to bind hearts, relations, the past, the present and future. It is the most important road to a union of permanent commitment, biological and spiritual. It is the way of life.It leads us with God’s blessing to a longer journey of life as progenitors of life itself.

It is all because of love - its ultimate manifestation and goal. Please move over Einstein, Darwin, et al. Your theories alone can’t define what love is. Move over Freud and Jung, the mind alone cannot build and nurture love. Give way to this special road. It may be the least trodden, often elusive. And that makes it even more special.

It has always been my dream. And now I have reached its portal. My friends have been waiting for the occasion, and now I will tell more of my “secrets” deeper than comparing notes and exchanging pleasantries,not even in our serious debates, in humor and wit. What will I tell them – my friends in elementary, high school and in the university, neighbors, among other aquaintances? And to the world?

· How to surrender my family name passed on by my dad, and my dad’s dad, and before, and here I am surrendering it to a new one, unfamiliar at first and getting use to it. It is a woman greatest surrender in the name of love.

· How to stay young to walk the aisle someday, waiting for time and opportunity, and knowing that the aisle can’t wait. I made the decision to give way to my heart’s desire and love’s potion to answer love’s calling - a calling before it fades to oblivion.

· How to equate success with failure, gladness with sorrow, affluence with simplicity – and if I found no formula or equation, I found solutions treating these as riddles of life, with love.

· How to keep on living, not by sheer courage but with meaning derived from good grooming, from wisdom of my father whose deathbed was leased to him for two decades. I learned to keep my chin up and look over the horizon, with love, strong and enduring behind me.

· How education hones the mind, humbles the heart and buoys the spirit – I kept on learning everyday, not merely for the sake of knowledge itself, but to understand more about life that I may be able to live it better and truer. It must be love that guided me to it.

· How unkind the world may be at times, with its trials, and through those I thought are the guardians of peace and understanding, but did come out of my expectation, yet I found ways to be stronger, deserving in my deeds small as are. It must be love that propped me up over and above these travails.

· How many times did I fall behind the line, for a ride, for a snack, in a celebration, in fashion, yet on the other hand, fortunate to be among the first in grades, recitation, cheers and prayers, and in paying respects. If by the disparity of all these like a polarized world – I managed to not only survive but triumph at the end – then it must be love that carried me all along.

· How punishment builds character with the philosopy “spare the rod and spoil the child,” I was that child submitting to punishment for my faults, never questioning authority. Instead, I did my duty in deference to age and authority, as expression of love to my bed-ridden dad. Indeed it is the greatest manifestation of not only my love, but care and admiration for him. I discovered a fountain of love in a dying father..

· How I endured, more than the one who endures, for the mind senses pain more than the body; if in this way I shared pain in order to lessen the sufferer’s, and doing it is not obligation on my part but sweet piety and compassion, then I have somehow transformed the pain that flows from my suffering dad, into a kind of sacrifice, pure and true and unconditional – and if these are seen as prayer Above, then it must be love whose mystery will never be understood by us mortals.

· How to accept suffering in a most difficult way but never, never bitter about life, how to endure it without measure of time and hope, yet each day passes without a tinge of anger and hatred, I remained rational by not questioning social and divine injustice, the inequality of men for happiness and sadness, and inequitable sharing the Good Life – this must be the way love is earned and reserved for some other time when you need it most.

· How in the course of gradual recovery my beloved patient fell back worse than he was before, and now the clock was ticking louder and louder in countdown, and how I faced this darkest hour no light can bring brightness but shadow, the shadow of the valley – of that once green and verdant watershed of life. The greatest test came, I stood courageous for the inevitable. I was released with a freedom you call love, its echo reberverating in the hearts of many people, and ultimately to the Creator. It is the most profound love I have ever experienced.

· How the interval of time builds a new bridge is beyond me to understand. Words of comfort and hope came from friends, from home, from unknown people. Plants started to bloom early, spring came with the chirping of birds and fluttering of butterflies, sunrise came earlier, the sunset’s glow came with the Angelus. I found more stars in the sky now, and one had a particular glow. I pointed at it, Dad!

· How I say farewell to childhood and single blessedness, to embrace a new life which is bigger than life itself, the memories tamed by time and acceptance, friendship distilled by trials, dreams pruned from aircastles, the cloud nine I used to seek refuge, now fall as rain to make the fields green, and washes away old tears, how to reach the steppes of a desert and find other people who have traveled on the same route that I took, and realize in this world you are not alone and will never be, for there are people who too, have lived the best part of their lives. .

Yes, the aisle! The Aisle! I walked up the aisle – with my dad’s living memory. Waiting ahead stood the man I would be exchanging vows to be with him the rest of my life. ~


Note: Living memories are few and fewer still as we grow old. They may have faded like photographs, But there are living memories that will remain forever. They are the landmarks of our character. They are the beacons in our lives, shining in everything that we do to our last breath. From here our children will remember us, it is our legacy to them and to the world.

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