Another student asked me a question which required of me a moment to think about. She asked: Is it still love if you are not loved in return?
Initially and for the most part, love becomes "real" when it is shared by two lovers. This can be easily seen in the hands that gather one and the other as two walk together side by side to the same horizon; in the crossed embrace which unites what did not need each other but suddenly could not be without one another; and in the gentle, quiet love that husband and wife share with one another that in time blooms into a child--love's fruit--and a family. Love then, like truth, becomes real when it is celebrated in its full glory. And we know how difficult it is to celebrate alone (a sumptuous dinner in a table for one, good news without having anybody to share it with, winning in solitaire).
Love, or a celebration of it. What then becomes of the lonely lover? What then becomes of him who still, without a shadow of a doubt and acknowled…
I told my students that only those who take the chance to love--those who gamble and raise the stakes, those who pose love's question and expose themselves to an answer that comes from elsewhere--I paradoxically told them that it is only the lover or the one who affords to lose everything that can never lose. So they asked me to clarify.
I said that the beloved, who by definition is only loved and need not love, does not seem to stand to lose anything in front of love's advance. Again, how could she?--when she only receives (or rejects), answers (yes or no) or ignores the love-question.
But on the other end of love's gift, the giver, who by definition only knows how to give, in this case, give love, seems to be the "party" that is most susceptible and vulnerable (like the open hand which can be slapped, the wide embrace that reveals and uncovers the heart, the admission that is necessarily followed by a judgment).
In our everyday experiences, it is the one who loved…
"Dahil hindi ka nila paniniwalaan," ang sabi ng bata sa Propeta.
"Paano pa? kung galing ka sa ibang lugar, ibang katayuan, ibang daigdig. Dahil isa kang dayuhan para sa kanila. Anumang gawin mo, anumang ipakita mo, dahil dayuhan ka, natatakot sila sa iyo.
"Tapos ganyan ka magsalita: malalim, magaling--mistulang matandang nangangarap maging bata, o musmos na nagpapanggap na maging marunong. Paano paniniwalaan ang bigat ng iyong mga binibigkas kung hindi nila nakikita ang pasang umaga na itinatago ng iyong ngiti tuwing gabi?
"Masikip kasi ang iyong dibdib kung umibig. Buti sana'y kung may pagwawalang-bahala, pambabastos--iyan, mauunawaan iyan, matatanggap iyan, iibigin din iyan. Ngunit hindi mo kayang hindi maging mabuti. Iyan ang parusa ng mga propeta.
"Kaya sinusubukan mong maging katulad nila. Ngunit iba ka sa kanila; o mas mahirap, iba sila sa iyo. At walang masama rito--maliban lamang sa hindi ka paniniwalaan."
To give means to surrender something, to offer it and lose it. Whence the danger of the gift: for the gift to be, it must be mine first (of value to me, perhaps as valuable as my self, or my own self already) and only then could what I give attain the rank of gift--unnecessary and absurd, but given freely without being asked or without asking for something in exchange.
How is this possible?--that I give while I know very well that what I give, since it was not asked, might not be even graciously accepted, could be rejected, used and then abused, or finally destroyed? Before such fear we then only give things we can lose (dispensable) or even hate (revenge)--like a fake bill we received--whereas the point of the gift is to give what I have and not what I do not have or do not want to have.
My God, help me learn how to give all that I have so that I may be emptied--and finally be worthy of receiving again.
To shuffle: to mix cards in a pack so as to change the relative positions; to jumble together, mix, or interchange the positions of objects.
What would it mean to shuffle not only a pack of cards but already one's life?
Before every game, the dealer shuffles the pack of cards a number of times so that the players would get a fair hand; fair in the sense that the odds of getting this is the same as that of getting that card. Or again, fair in the sense that the dealer is not cheating, where to cheat here means to purposely favor one hand (his) over the other (mine), so that again one has a fair shot at winning. But the most important shuffle one gets is when after you lose a game, no matter how ugly your cards were, after the shuffle you get a fresh chance: to perhaps win, or to lose again--yet these are the same where what is important is to be given a chance to play again.
If life's a game, or even a gamble, wouldn't it then be very good to have the cards shuffled again, to …