The Benediction: Love is Love

ImageI’m not a fan of marriage in general.  I did it once, for all the wrong reasons like so many people who refuse to admit so. I think the institution has become as trite and jaded as “the American Dream“, chock full of false expectations, superficial wants and desires that have little or nothing to do with the happiness of the people who are lassoed into filing the papers. So why, you might ask, am I taking the time to write about marriage equality? Two reasons: First, the ability of a person to marry whomever  you want is basic as hell. For real … why are we even having to debate this bullshit in court, America? I mean don’t we have bigger fish to fry? It is truly embarrassing that we as a nation are having to take to go to court to argue something that is a private matter between individuals with the contrasting arguments being just as bigoted as the counter arguments to the abolition of slavery, integration, interracial marriage, and women’s reproductive rights (wait … we’re STILL talking about that shit too. UGHK … America, just fucking UGHK.) I won’t get into the white male privilege of it all or the presumption that America is an exclusively “Christian Nation“, but I will say that if certain believers in the “America of Our  Forefathers” don’t pull their heads out of their asses, it’s going to be a loooong decade or so … for them anyway.

Now to my second reason. In the same way a person can be spiritual and hate religion, I believe with my whole heart in love and don’t believe that marriage is  requisite for a lifetime of loving another person. One of the first times I’ve been stuck dumb by the love I witnessed within a relationship, was one where the couple was of the same sex.

It was roughly 2 am in the morning and this woman came in through the emergency room sicker than hell. She had pneumonia and was so weak that she could barely do anything for herself.  While I was assessing her, her partner who’d been parking the car came in. She quietly moved to the opposite side of the bed from me and took her hand.  I was just about to stick the sick woman for blood when she sneezed. I froze immediately, to keep from sticking myself or the patient, and looked up to see her partner cleaning snot from her face and clothing without even flinching.  She was caring for her with a look on her face that reflected pure love. Sounds sappy, but it was as if I were supposed to see it.  In that moment something inside of me said “that’s what I want”, “that’s how I want to be loved by another human being.” Those two women were in that thing together for better or worse, and if a love like that can’t be confirmed through marriage then the whole institution should be outlawed.  It has been years since this incident, but I never forgot it or how it affected me.

This past weekend I had the honor of attending the wedding of my friend Séan and his now husband Christopher.  It was my first gay wedding, and I have to say that it was one of the most simple and sweet ceremonies I’d ever attended. Words of love and encouragement were exchanged between family and friends .. like any wedding. There were jitters, blunders, and late arrivals …  like any wedding. And I, of course, bawled like a complete idiot … like I would do at any wedding. As the debauchery and merriment of the weekend unfolded, I found myself wishing that human beings in their infinite pursuit of control and understanding wouldn’t insist on making others miserable along the way.  Love can’t be defined by a court case or really anything rational, if I look at my own life as an example.  Love just is.


Living like a wife, Loving like a mistress

Upon rising from my daily routine of prayer, meditation, and letting the screeching cat through my closed bedroom door, I was hit by a lightening bolt of insight. I have been living my life with the beauty, humility, and grace of a woman any man would be lucky to be coupled with but loving as if I only deserved to be a mistress.  Taking the miniscule bits of affection I could get, swallowing every compliment, kiss, phone call, and  text message as an unholy communion. Ignoring grave inadequacies of the relationship for fear I would lose the scraps I was getting, even when I was married. I have been living like a wife, but loving like a mistress.

First off let me say that I don’t view marriage as the ultimate yard stick by which one can measure the degree of soundness of a romantic relationship. See: The Real Housewives of (insert city here). I do believe in marriage as a symbol of commitment to a life with someone else based in non-material reciprocity.  Marriage, for me, stripped of all it’s culturally conceived glitz is simply saying ‘I do’ vow to go through all of life’s bullshit with you. To try not to hate you when you get on my damn nerves, and to while doing all this, love you for exactly who you are, as is. A simple but tall order. One that I have at one end or the other struggled with for most of my life.

I have given an over abundance of myself to people who either couldn’t or wouldn’t reciprocate. I have given with self centered expectation and been hurt when I didn’t receive the expected results. The relationship ground on which I walk on is pretty shaky but better than it used to be because I am now aware. Once I became aware, I couldn’t not become unaware which makes it that much harder to practice the behaviors I used to.

Love in abundance is coming. I don’t have to fight for it. Scrap, beg or borrow. I just have to be patient and honor the lessons I’ve already learned.

❤ Rosie