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Young Love, Old Love

I was amused to read this from my friend’s Facebook wall:

Spent today with le Chinese elders… One lady in particular amused me *she’s old and spoke in Chinese*

“Rich?! Who cares about being rich? As long as you live a life that makes you happy, then you are rich! When my eldest son was born, all we could give him was Carnation milk! A little Carnation, mix it with water! Pity! Sometimes, we didn’t always have food, so what did we do?! Did I fight with my husband?! No! I just looked at him and I was happy. We loved each other. He worked hard, and that’s why I didn’t mind the money. Money does not matter. You think money matters? No. Money does not buy you over 60 years of marriage, LOVE does.”BABAM!!!

Love is abound! When has it not been? It’s all the more evident now that the summer revealed its sweltering days. Oh gosh, the heat is insane in the Philippines. I mean, I nursed a headache with coffee this mid-afternoon because of the heat. (I really don’t know why but coffee has that effect on my migraines.) Love is like this immense heat! It affects everyone.

But there’s a quality of love that we long for. It’s the kind of love that lasts forever. I’ve talked about it before in this post and I can’t help but bring it up again in even more anecdotes about old couples. I know that not a person with a heart can resist videos or stories about couples who have been married for 50-80 years and still show how they are madly in love with each other. The quality of their love is so much like good wine and aged cheese that their constancy has made their love so compelling and has gotten journalists to talk about them. The way they have grown together gives their relationship such a distinct personality that compares to no one and at the same time shares the same three-fold meaning of marriage which was that they had children together, between a man and a woman and they are clearly in it for as long as they live – sometimes even beyond the lifetimes of their spouses.

One such story is in this very charming Humans of New York video of Shirley and Moe. Watching this video brought tears to my eyes when I saw Shirley’s look of distant memory as she was trying to explain to the camera about the final days of her husband. With her raspy yet strong voice, she told the camera about the conversation she had with him when she asked “What would I do without you?”

And he gathered up all the energy he could and said: “Take the love you have for me and spread it around. A love spread around there beauty is found.”

I don’t know about you but that’s the kind of stuff that romance script writers rack their brains out to come up with.

Sometimes, these couples were made so much for each other that the world cannot bear to see them separated. That’s exemplified by this headline that reads Married Couple for 70 Years, Die 15 Hours Apart. Many other elderly couples have died the same way throughout all human history.

Everyone wants this kind of love – precisely because we were made from love! On the eve of St. John Paul II and St. John XXIII’s canonization, I would like to quote St. John Paul II’s insightful and understanding perspective on the search for love from his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

Young people are always searching for the beauty of love. They want their love to be beautiful. If they give into weakness, following worldly models of behaviour…in the depths of their hearts they still desire a beautiful and pure love.This is as true of boys as it is of girls. Ultimately, they know that only God can give them this love. As a result, they are willing to follow Christ without caring about the sacrifices this may entail.” 

In this quote, I’m particularly moved by how he addresses the youth. I would guess it’s because of our tendency to understand the mystery of life in all its colors – the black, the gray, the white and the mesh of every color. It was his way to tell us that hey, I know what you want, I know it behind your confused eyes. I know it behind the urges of your passionate soul.I know what you want because I wasn’t just in your place. I am still an adolescent well, an old adolescent to be exactly, but I want exactly what you want too. I know where it lies and best of all, He wants us more than we want Him. Please don’t wander off another way because your search will just go awry. I know love in its truest color and it’s more beautiful that your mind can ever imagine…

It’s true. We’re always confused about why things happen. They say you have to go through something life changing to be thrown out of our horses all called pride. They say we have to love ourselves first before we get into any serious relationship. What does that mean exactly? Loving ourselves isn’t the kind the succumbs to comforts and likes 24/7 that this world subscribes to. It starts with the gratefulness of the love we already have.

I realized this after my dad passed away. Although I didn’t understand why it had to happen… I think about him everyday. I sought a father. If not a biological one, I searched for the man who loved me more than I can ever know. I didn’t know it at that time but I met Him everyday when I went to daily mass. There I realized more and more God’s immense love for me. All the good present in my life was made clear amidst the misery of no longer having a father. More than that, I saw God’s intense love for me that through a desperate situation, He asked me to look at and know Him.

Out of all the love stories born out of the heroic elderly couples, the oldest love would be God’s love for us and its constancy is present until this day.

Christian, non-Christian of all colors and races, we all know the power of old love. Even if some of the youth seem to be hopeless, they know the profundity of old love only, they don’t know where to seek it or how – but it’s possible really, I was only sixteen years old when I found that peace, in the oldest love of all.

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