Thursday, February 5, 2009
The Manhood Test! An Early Valentine Story
A dear friend who was a witness to my total and utter immersion into the cavernous and unrelenting love that has characterized my feelings for Luz since the moment I met her, asked me to recount an event at our wedding that went unseen by most, but was very much felt by me.
The Veil and Cord Ceremony conducted at Filipino weddings serves as a wonderful illustration of the presence and blessing of the Lord in the purity of marriage and symbol of the loving unity that marriage was meant to produce. Luz and I were blessed to have experienced this tradition as a part of our wedding. One slight miscalculation on the part of those who placed the veil and cord around us, gave me a strong but unintended illustration of endurance and perseverance marriage requires as well.
As the veil was placed around my shoulders and Luz’s head, the sponsors were very conscientious to do their very best to make sure that neither symbol slipped off. As they fulfilled their duties, I suddenly noticed a great deal of discomfort in my shoulder as If I had been stung by a bee or wasp. As I made a hasty appraisal of my situation, I quickly realized that the veil had actually been pinned to the trapezius muscle of my shoulder itself, not just my Barong Tagalog, or traditional Filipino shirt! In my desire to be a real man for my bride, I then surmised that my sticking was one last test, designed to try my love in a way that wasn’t visible to the congregation and family, but was all too obvious to me. This test would be seen by the wedding party and a few insiders, and would prove beyond a doubt I was willing to pay any price and face unplanned obstacles and discomfort as a husband and father. In my mind, I couldn’t just pass this test, I had to max it! So, I smiled, put on a thoughtful face and avoided giving even a clue that I was at all fazed by this trial of manhood.
When the ceremony was over, and the veil and cord had been removed, I whispered to Luz and asked if she was proud of my performance in passing the test? She looked at me curiously and asked “What test?” “You know.” I replied, and explained what had just happened and how I had endured it all with distinction and honor! Luz almost bent over double laughing. “That was no test!” She chuckled. “They were probably really nervous and just stuck the pin too deep so that the veil wouldn't come off! Manhood Test! You are SOOO funny!” It seemed that though I had failed impressed my new bride with my masculinity, I had succeeded in entertaining her with my stupidity. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but laugh myself. Looking back on that day, amidst many ups and downs and trials and victories, I have still continued to find myself laughing with joy some 20 years later. I have also learned a few lessons, among them being this bit of truth - while you may make a fool of yourself thinking you’re doing something noble, manly and brave to prove your love, in your failure you may achieve something much sweeter and more enduring – bringing the one you love incredible joy and exposing a heart that is faithful, devoted, and willing to face any obstacle for the sake of a love that is beyond measure and without shame. When you really consider it, what could be manlier than that? Lots of love and Happy Valentine's Day! Until next time...