Essays

I Do

My friend Ted got married a week ago. It was planned, sort of. He and his lady have been together for something like three years and they’ve been talking about doing the wedding thing for a while now. So, what did they do? They contacted a former Judge, got a few close friends together, lit up the sailboat Ted lives on with some lanterns, and both said I do. I wasn’t there, but as it was told to me I imagined it to be a beautiful thing. I’m sure it was.

My Karen and I went to Hawaii a couple of years ago, sat on a beach in Maui, shared a Hawaiian sand ceremony, said some words to each other, and considered ourselves married. In fact, I’ve felt very married ever since. Though, we aren’t legally married, sanctioned by the state or whomever, we are married, in our hearts. As Karen’s daughter, Mary, put it… life partners.

This got me thinking… as many things do.

There’s a lot of love going around. I know, personally, several duos that have
coupled up in the last two years. And I’m not talking a casual coupling up, I’m saying people who’ve coupled up permanently, or are at least thinking being together for the rest of their lives might be a real possibility.

With all the stuff we see on the news every day, it’s nice to hear about people in love. People who care for each other so much, they are willing to make the big commitment. To look at each other and say, I want to see your face, hear your voice, and hold your hand for the rest of my life.

It’s hard to remember how much love is going around when there’s so much grief, horror, and pain shown to us every day. The television news displays it, the radio reports it, newspapers peddle it, and the Internet flashes it in our faces. It’s always there. Fear. There are bad people everywhere doing bad things to each other and if we aren’t careful, these bad people will do something to us too. Eat the right things, or else. Exercise the right way, or else. Watch the right programs on TV, wear the right shoes, live in the right neighborhoods, drink the right soft drinks, drive the right car, choose the right sports equipment, and use the right prescription drugs. If we don’t, we’re really in trouble. Something terrible will happen.

We are hardly ever exposed to anything positive in the media. It happens, but usually when it does, it’s something simple-minded and cute. Don’t get me wrong, cute and simple-minded are good, sometimes, but they aren’t a great representation of all that’s good in the world. Slapstick humor, though light hearted, is also, at times, unintelligent. Which, I know, is the point, but we need more than that, we should expect more, and we all deserve more. So here we are, watching or listening or looking at screens with pain or ridiculousness. Where is the real humanity? Where’s the meaning? Where’s the love? Not celebrity love, or reality-show love, or cute love. No… I’m talking real love. The love Ted has for his lady, the love I have for mine. Imagine what it would be like to wake up in the morning, turn on the news, and see representations of what is good in the world. People sacrificing for each other, putting others before themselves, people loving and living positively.

Ok, I know we’ve seen some of this, but think about it. We usually see it when it’s connected to something terrible. It is heart warming to see acts of bravery and kindness after a natural disaster. It’s a great thing to see how much people are willing to give of themselves and their resources when faced with something so overwhelming and terrible. And we, the persons distant and unaffected, sit quietly and can’t even begin to imagine how horrible it must be to be the people on the front lines working with the victims of the disaster. To us it looks heroic, as it should. We sit mesmerized and thankful for what we have. Scenes of do-gooders doing good make us reflect on our own lives, leading to relief and appreciation. So, in those circumstances, it’s there… people caring for people.

Don’t get me wrong, all of that is fine and well. Seeing scenes and hearing stories about caring and humans being human is necessary when hour after hour of television and radio coverage during a natural disaster, a terrible act of brutality, or a horrific accident bring us scenes of anguish and sorrow. But, what about the normal average everyday day, nothing major happening… just the usual… robberies, fires, accidents, and crimes of a violent nature. On those days we could use a little love… a little bit of nice. We could use some happiness and hope. But, since there’s no big disaster, we don’t get stories of bravery or of humans helping humans. We get bombarded with stories telling us, over and over to be afraid, be very afraid. And… we are.

So, where was I when I started this? I guess I’m coming full circle now, and will say this… hearing about Ted getting married, quietly with much sincerity and love; I am heartened and filled with hope. I am bolstered by his simple act of love, as I know every single one of us is when we hear about people loving people. I want to yell out to the world, see… here it is. Here is what life is all about. Not pain, though it’s part of it, not sorrow, because that certainly is as well, but love… happiness, passion, and devotion.

I guess the daily news, and media in general, doesn’t see the right kind of marketing angle in promoting love. I imagine they think it wouldn’t get people tuning in as much as they do for the tabloid style news. But honestly, I think we’d all make a commitment to I do, if they could just, for a moment or two, put some importance on love, like Ted did, like I did, and like so many of my friends and family have. When a person looks at life from that angle, there’s nothing better, nothing more fulfilling, nothing more important, and nothing more life affirming, than I do. It’s a choice we can all make. Everyday. We just have to be open and willing to brave the land where two words sit waiting… and say I do, to life.

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