A DIFFICULT LOVE
It is the month of hearts in our popular culture and in our already mass-produced consciousness and culture. The images of hearts cut-out to size, and that romance-laden, almost iconic two hearts pierced by an arrow is almost too sweet for comfort with our already ‘mass’ lives that we perform daily, with that everydayness sometimes devoid of surprise and desire, Valentine’s day or not.
These and many other things visit us this month, the February of our memories of young love, mature relationships, domestic bliss, and lives lived happily ever after.
But even as we celebrate—and up the ante of that celebration by ‘cerebrating’ the meaning and relevance of love, we are assaulted by some grim statistics, with the latest about a boy—Cyrus Belt—thrown off a freeway before onrushing cars and in our own State, and two women succumbing to their death, their death caused by the very persons who are supposed to care for them, protect them, nurture them, and shield them from all the which is the antithesis of death, also in our State.
We can only question these realities that have otherwise turned ugly.
We can only question ourselves, our relationships, our communities, and all those unseen factors that push some of us to do the terribly wrong: this act of violence against our sense of good, this act of violence against our common sense, this act of violence inflicted upon others.
We cannot play victim here.
We can only accept the fact that in this social drama where the opposite of February is not love eternal but the pain of a people and a community that is going through this difficult rite of passage of either going out of this vicious circle of power and authority summoned for the wrong reasons or declaring ourselves advocates of what is just and fair in our human relationships, in our social relationships, and in our very institutions, including what some call as ‘intimate partnership.’
The anchor in all these is none other but that abstract thing we call ‘love’, as this month symbolizes.
But this ‘love’ is not really abstract in the end, as it demands articulation, elaboration, exemplification, and particularization.
This means simply that if we do love someone, that act of loving someone is plain and simple loving that someone in the here-and-how, an act that is particular, concrete.
Obviously, violence is not part of the equation of loving.
It is only when all of us recognize this fundamental concept that we can gain ground—and the recognition is one that is inclusive: all, all of us, and no one is supposed to be left out.
Love and justice go together—are inseparable wholes, two sides of the same coin, intertwined in a human relationship that can veritably be called human and humane.
Unless and until one person has not been left alone unable to act out—to realize—the duty to love and do just things, then our work is not yet finished, thus remaining undone, yet to be done.
Valentine’s day—and February—is supposed to be this.
A Solver Agcaoili
(Written for the Fil-Am Observer, February 2008)