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Citrus Love

A cousin of mine is getting married. I went to her despedida last night. As per the invitation, we were to wear citrus colors such as lime green, yellow and orange. I thought that was funny.

As usual, the rest of us cousins talked about who was going to marry next. Not that we resolve anything in these speculations drowned or colored by alcohol; it was just so we could tease each other--and even perhaps squeeze out any at all information if any of us were already planning the escape from solitary bliss. Well, for me, at least, being single is a happy life--though I would not go so far as saying that it is a blessed life. Not yet. Because I am not a monk yet, which I plan on being somewhere down the road. So I'm pretty happy: not fantastically so but happy enough.

My cousin who will walk down the aisle soon is younger than me by a few months. We were teasing her that she did not ask for permission by skipping me and another cousin my age, by marrying before us, leaving the both of us inevitably asking "so what's up with us?" She skipped us: it says that even though she's younger than us, she's had it "figured out." At least that's what marrying confesses. For why marry when you have not yet been able to see the posiblity of happily configuring your life around that other? When you have yet to take a hold of your life, gather it from dispersal and brokenness, and then offer it to another? Like Thomas More.

Hypothetically, that is. For me, perhaps I'll marry someday--if I do at all--because she can help me in the long run mend my crooked self, and not because I have already found myself because of her.

I understand very clearly that this is not what I teach my students: I tell them that love is not an Odyssey but an Iliad, that is, it goes forth to the other and does not return to its self; I tell them that we do not love to complete our selves as if the other were a missing piece--and object which fills my lack; I tell them that love . . . oh I no longer know why I tell them such things. When I know from life that love is never enough. Then what is?

I want to say, the teacher in me wants to say, at least, that perhaps the truth is enough. Now I'm mixing water with wine; covering up something unclear with another un-clarity. What do I mean? If I one day look into the eyes of the woman I supposedly "love" and who supposedly "loves" me back, when I see her and what she shows me, and when I know--not necessarily with certainty--or when I feel--not necessarily with emotions--that is, when I know and feel that she is honest, that she is sincere, that she is here for the long run (and again, not just because she's sure or because she likes what I feel)--then and only then, do I dare say that I could be with her or offer what I have (and do not have). In a word, if I see that what is between us is true, then I might even go on to say and judge that this is love.

But of course, the teacher in me shall have to ask: "How do you know? How do you become sure?" These questions then ask for criteria or bases through and on which I am able to judge the the truth of such a love.

I hasten to simply answer that "you just know--with or without a reason." Though that may be true, I've already said that elsewhere and I do not like repeating myself. So let me look for another response to that pesky question from the pesky teacher. So how do I know that this one--perhaps alone, perhaps for now, perhaps for ever--is true, that is, is what they call (without knowing what it means) a "true love"?

First, let's set aside, as I usually do, what may be weak criteria: emotions (they pass and pass away); security (one can never be so secure); his or her word or promise (we say a lot of things without meaning them--and it's funny how lovers now need to paradoxically sign "marriage contracts" or prenuptials; so much for "till the day I die"); workability of the relationship (all engines falter and fail through what that accounting term calls "depreciation" or what the more vulgar term indicates in "wear and tear"); other people agree (only lovers see, all the rest are blind; the "intersubjectivity of truth" does not hold here); the heralded "fruitfulness of truth" (everything that blooms withers away at the same moment of ripeness); and to rebut myself, I dare say "happiness" ("Call no man happy till the day he dies / Free from pain at last" [Sophocles]); peace (finding a partner is much like finding a trigger, at least for me, that is); and finally, friendship, that supposed Platonic love (yet I can befriend any dog). Though these, to be sure, as you very well know, dear Reader, are no proofs, I stand by them.

You say: you still do not know, Saint. You're young (I'm not, at least by the age of my heart), inexperienced (go through one experience then you've seen them all--eternally returning to you), or perhaps just bitter. Now there's something to think about.

But no, I am not bitter--and I've thought about this a lot. Actually, I'm just better, stronger, and well, no longer a convalescent as Nietzsche calls those who have not yet perceived the truth that there are no truths. Those who still dream of wonderful lives and loves escape the ugly soil of reality on which equally ugly people walk and disguise themselves as in a parade of fools. The point is to see through the facades: watch them, smile back, but be aware. Heck, join the parade even. But know it's a parade. Everything begins with consciousness.

I consign: I do not know. And I hope that my words may be not too bitter for, as the proverb I hear from my mother goes, I may have to eat them one day. And I am waiting for that day where I may feast on my ignorance and pompousness. But if that day not come, not to worry, for I was right all along.

Then there you go. I answered the question already. The question was, to repeat, "How do you know that this love is true?" I was looking for a criteria and I just gave you one. Which one?


I cannot know now whether a possible love, if at all any love, could be true--at this point. Now, I cannot see. But who knows what the tide will bring tomorrow? Perhaps now, it doesn't matter who or in what form a possible love may appear to me as possible true. Simply put, I do not know now what could be true because I am not yet "ready" or "interested" to know; or better: because the question has not been raised yet; or better still: I am not yet placed into the question. Like the way my cousin was placed into the question, or when she herself became a living question and was called upon to be herself the living answer. Because she was called--today and no day is better than today. Yet more importantly, because in her answer, with or without a reason--because she did not initiate but simply answered the call--she, in a decision, made it true. That is, we will that a love be true from now on. Why? Because it was time.

You see, it's never about love, dear Reader. As I always say, it's all about the timing.


  1. I think it's both about the right timing and the right person (if there is such thing. huh, i sense bitterness there. hehe)... i enjoyed reading this one, by the way (=

  2. hey, yvaughn.

    Yes, of course the person is "important." The thing is the right time opens up the possibility to see the right person--and perhaps not the other way around.

    I may be with the right person but at the wrong time. But if it is the right time, the right person becomes, well, the best one.

    Or again: if I were not looking (if it was not yet time to look), then even if the right person enters my horizon, I may not notice her.

    But if I were ready to look, all of a sudden every possible love becomes realizable: because I was looking, I shall find.

    What do you think?

  3. good point you got there (=

  4. Dear thesaint,

    I agree. The right time opens up the possibility to see the right person.

    This thought can be seen in John's Gospel. Every year at this time we read in John's Gospel chapter 1 about the source of all life that is the light of all people that came into all being through the Word.

    As John's Gospel unfolds, the light reaches her zenith in the 4th Chapter at NOON. Here the light speaks to the word face to face and we are invited to see how both of them speaking with the other become the Messias.

    In John's Gospel Chapter 8 they run into trouble and they almost get stoned. In John 11 Lazarus becomes ill and the Light is named Mary and revealed to be living in a village called the house of figs (Bethany) with her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus. Martha scolds Jesus the Teacher. Had he not been traipsing all over Samaria and Gallilee, Lazarus (and she Martha) would not have suffered from the scandal and the trouble caused by the actions of the Messias.

    But none the less, pure, gracious and faithful Martha believes in the resurrection. So Martha, speaks in private to Mary and tells her that the Teacher is calling for her.

    Then in Chapter 12 Mary the Megga Helen, the Great Light, annoints the Word.

    Then in Chapter 19, Jesus is crucified and the body of Christ is broken and Jesus gives up the Spirit.

    In Chapter 20 the GreatLight the source of all life comes again into the darkness as Mary Magda(he)lene meets and speaks with the Teacher in the Garden face to face. She is worried. She thinks that the darkness that came with their death and long separation has stolen her sacred body and given it to him. The Good Teacher assures her that he has not taken it. If you can read Greek without the imposed punctuation of English editorial versions you can see how the Teacher calls this woman, Jesus Mary and Jesus Woman

    And then in verse 17, Jesus the Man says to her, Do not touch me...demonstrating his respect for his bride Martha. In verses 21-23 Jesus says, "Peace be with you...Receive the Holy Spirit. Ir you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."


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