One of our three sons is getting married this weekend, so it's only logical that I'd be thinking about love. After watching this boy grow from birth, through childhood, and into adulthood, I have to say that the concept of his falling in love, of having an inexplicably deep connection with another person, continues to give me hope for all that is good in the world. The woman who will be his wife is as perfect for him as he is for her -- just proving that, even when left on their own, our children are capable of making great decisions.
Love is crazy, and it just likes to mess with us. No matter how much hate or division infects our world, love still inspires people to find the best in each other, to smile at failure together, and to move forward toward a shared goal of happiness -- no matter what the odds. Many classic stories tell this tale. Romeo and Juliet may be the best known, but every day brings reminders that the ties that bind us together are often much stronger than the circumstances that keep us apart. Have you seen the stories on YouTube about the animals who are unlikely best friends? If not, check this out.
As I've pondered how our son found his most-perfect mate, I've realized that my wife and I had very little to do with it. We may have laid some groundwork, but both luck and fate were clearly involved. Maybe we gave him some self-confidence, and it doesn't hurt that he's a decent looking lad (if I do say so myself), but the love that these two young people seem to have found came about as if it had been waiting in the wings their entire lives. That's not to say that they haven't had to work at developing a wonderful relationship -- because, as my friend Jim once wrote: "If relationships were easy, we'd all have good ones." It just seems that the desire to love each other trumps everything else for them.
It's immediately apparent that the soon-to-be newlyweds respect each other. None of our parental pre-conceptions about problem-areas -- like a messy room, or a stubborn streak -- seem to bother either of them at all. They just take each other in stride. I revel in watching their silent communications. Those looks that mean, "It's time to leave" or, "Go check on the dog," happen without debate or ego. It is such a pleasure to watch them care so much about each other.
In an earlier time, just 50 or so years ago, people might have been upset by the fact that the bride and groom were raised in different religious traditions. But today love makes all these separators fade in importance, and nowhere is this as visible to me as in our family's love for the bride and her family's acceptance of the groom (and us). Who can argue with love, especially when it's so obvious.
We are exposed to a lot of anger and hatred in this world, but everyday people fall in love, regardless of their backgrounds or their cultural biases. Maybe the fact that the world is getting smaller -- with social media and instant communication -- will create a neighborhood in which more "differents" are brought together to make us "sames."
It is my wish for these children, and all the others who marry, that their love will drive us all toward greater unity and acceptance within our worldwide family.
Of course, a little luck will be helpful too.