Well, I survived the wedding, and my daughter is now married to a handsome young man from Brazil. In a way this now makes me Brazilian, for Brazil is now part of my family.
That is how love and marriage works: Our horizons are expanded. In a sense it is the opposite of what selfishness imagines. Selfishness thinks that the way to gain is to hoard, but discovers such clinging only gains the hollowness of a miserly life. In Love one gives, and discovers that rather than poorer one is richer. As horizons expand consciousness expands.
If course, if my mother could only see me now, she might suggest I’m far too old to be running around expanding my consciousness. It is beneath the dignity of a gentleman of my advanced years. And I might even be inclined to agree with the ghostly mother rolling in her grave, but all walls fall, when love wants in.
This expansive benefit of family values is actually one thing Internationalists fail to grasp, when they promote a world without borders. They see any sort of nation as walls that people hide behind, and assume walls make such people racist and/or fascist. Because a family is in a sense a small nation, they even can dislike the fidelity of monogamous marriage, seeing it as preventing “free love”. In actual fact the “walls” created by the discipline of marriage-vows create a lattice which holds love’s tendrils up, and allows it to flourish.
Another good symbol is the banks of a river, which form levees that channel and direct the water. Without banks a river becomes a swamp. In other words, levees symbolize discipline, which allows you to get somewhere.
There is of course the danger of discipline getting out of hand, in which case the levees actually become dams, and stop up the flow of the water. Too much discipline without any love results in a sort of spiritual desertification, and one winds up as stranded as the fishermen of the Aral Sea.
Internationalists have long looked down their noses at family values, assuming an arid fate awaited those who built mini-nations, but when I look at Syrian refugees I think most would have rather stayed home, and that many only became refugees because international influences totally destroyed their homes.
While I admit my family values haven’t made my life altogether tidy, and my study is currently a mess, none of my messes are as bad as the internationalist’s mess, pictured above.
Furthermore I will also confess that as I became old and crusty, and my goal became to be a character and a cantankerous anachronism, I didn’t approve of undisciplined behavior. I urged my daughters to find some nice, local fellow. So, of course, they didn’t.
Lastly I’ll confess I was in no mood for all the work of a wedding. It seemed a long run for a very short slide. The actual ceremony only takes fifteen minutes. Why string up lights? Especially when it involves an old fellow like myself teetering atop a fifteen foot step ladder, and I might break my neck? And besides the set-up, there is the clean-up. People love to come for dinner, but few stay to do dishes. And so on and so forth. I could go on for pages.
But then I became an absolute hypocrite, at the actual event. I got all choked up walking my daughter to the groom, and during the reception wine had me beaming and in love with everyone, and even dancing like a fool.
Even the next morning, when I crawled out of bed fully expecting a return of reality punctuated by cynical despair, I found myself walking about in a smiling afterglow, (helped by the fact I discovered saints had done much of the clean-up before I awoke.)
One of the nicest experiences was talking to my daughter’s new father-in-law, who had flown up from Brazil and who didn’t speak English. I spoke no Portuguese, but his daughter acted as interpreter. As we talked we discovered we shared the same family values, and the same love of small churches, and compared our experiences in the modern world. We discovered we agreed about internationalists, and laughed and joked together like long-lost friends.
Once again I likely am shocking my liberal friends, who assume my family values automatically make me a xenophobic racist. Blame the wine, or blame the unexpectedly warm October weather, but it seemed to me that, during the reception, heaven peeked through the veils of our sad, old earth.
The weather was all wrong for October
And fallen leaves scampered scarlet down streets
On warm winds. Frost refused to grow white fur,
And my garden was full of August’s treats.
I shook my head. There are times I don’t mind
Being wrong, and don’t mind when my forecasts fail,
For I’m faithless, and therefore cannot find
What faith finds: A Light which makes shadows quail.
Once I trusted, but saw both others and my self
Break the trust, and learned to expect the worst.
Faith seemed foolish, so I booked it on a shelf
And distrust became the act I rehearsed
For the play of winter winds, but weather was wrong
And young lovers sang a far better song.