May 9 of 36 years ago, I and my wife exchanged vows “before God and before man” to love each other ‘till death do we part.
On the first night after our wedding, before lying on bed and even anxious enough for the most awaited moment of my life, my mind fancied curtly on the biblical prayer of Tobias and Sara (Tobit 8:10) on their wedding night:
“Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.”
That I did fancy on this biblical passage on our honeymoon night was nothing extraordinary as, even on that one gloriously romantic moment, I was fully aware of two indispensable truths when I decided to get married: 1) like my erstwhile priestly vocation before I left the seminary, marriage is a sacred vocation too, and 2) my “knot tying” with my wife would mean FOREVER, and better as well I’ve prayed that we both grow old together healthy, harmoniously, and happily!
You see, our love story was hatched from likely odd or unexpected beginnings and circumstances, sufficing perhaps as one for the books: me being a former nearly-to-be-ordained priest and my wife as an ex-future nun; me as whence a fresh-from-the-seminary college instructor and my wife being my former student.
Or, perhaps we were but destined to be for each other.
Until now, I can’t avoid heaving a blissful sigh and affording a smile on my lips every time I recall how I met my wife.
As a fresh college instructor after getting out of the seminary, I went early to the classroom and found only one female student, sitting in the front row.
After asking if she was enrolled in my class and noticing that there was no chalk for the board, I courteously asked her if she could find a chalk for me while waiting for the other students.
Then on another occasion, I found myself stranded at the school’s facade waiting for the rain to subside and get a ride home. Suddenly, this same student of mine appeared offering her umbrella. The rest is history. She became my wife.
Today, May 9, after 36 years (not that long yet, huh) of our marriage – with four grown up successful children, all sons, 3 of whom are married – I’d like to share the following reflections.
One, looking back, I think it’s the struggles, sacrifices or “thornful experiences” that we have had, more than the happy or “rosy moments”, that have made our love even stronger over time.
Two, true love, as in our case (yes, we claim), knows no bounds. It is indiscriminating and unpredictable, with full of surprises. Indiscriminating, that it knows no boundaries, as we did being erstwhile teacher and student. Indeed, everybody is equal before the bar of love; it is the ultimate equalizer.
Love has full of surprises – that it comes in the most unexpected time, place or circumstance. Kim Carnes’ classic song resonates thus, “Love comes from the most unexpected places.”
Three, marriage – just like my erstwhile priestly vocation – entails total commitment or self-giving. Thus, from the moment I married my wife, I had to be dead certain that it has to last FOREVER, ‘till death do we part.
And lastly, having gone through the best and worst of times, I and my wife never believe that the best days are over – they are always happening every day, today and tomorrow.
Now, thus on this special occasion of our 36th wedding anniversary, I’d like to offer the following poem to my dearest wife:
O irog ko, kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking mga luha ay mauunawaan, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para umiyak?
Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking kaluluwa ay magkakaroon ng pakpak, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para lumipad?
Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay tutubo uunlad, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para sumubok?
Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay kikilalanin, paniniwalaan, at tatanggapin bilang ako, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para ako ay maging ako?
O irog ko, sadyang sa iyo at tanging sa iyo lamang ako tutungo at nais makapiling hanggang sa dulo ng walang-hanggan.
Pinakamamahal kita, O aking kabiyak!
Blissful cheers to our 36th wedding anniversary! Happy Mother’s Day too