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This weekend I went to a wedding. Upon my arrival I began to notice the grounds, the architecture, the hor d’oeuvres, and the decor. The atmosphere was one of a rustic simplicity with a welcoming attitude. As a photographer my eyes wander to find the perfect backdrops and lighting but, as  a writer I listen to everything around me. I heard discussions of  the last minute details,  a rehearsal of a poem with the right volume of classical music in the background, and of course the “awe” of new guests as they enter.

What did distract me from my little world was one of the grooms discussing a hurtful interaction from the night before. This was not a typical wedding in a traditional sense. This was a same sex wedding between a gay couple. Not just any couple, but two men who have loved each other for 15 years. Like any long term relationship, they have had good times and bad. They have laughed and cried on their journey to becoming two people with one soul. Yet, for them love has a different dimension that society still holds taboo.

Same sex marriages have not begun to bridge the gap like marriages of different ethnicities or religions. Anything seemingly different tends to take society years to accept. If we ever truly do! The conversation caught my attention because this was not the first time I have heard it recently. It is a subject in which the people in your life act as though they support who you are just as you are. Yet, when the time comes and who you really are becomes public knowledge, you hear excuses or worse yet, you encounter an abandonment. This topic regarding who we choose to love amazes me. It’s a matter of how family and/or friends seem to accept love at face value until it comes time to publicly announce that love. In a traditional love situation, it’s just a matter of whether the person is suitable to love this person whom we love. In a non-traditional love situation, we begin to hear close minded excuses.

Excuses range from being a simple choice to a divine violation of a religious standard. Any excuse will do as long as it proves what makes us, as a whole, feel uncomfortable is actually contemptable. What is it about human nature that requires us to view differences as obstacles to be dismissed? Why do we feel we need a mundane sameness throughout humanity instead of a uniqueness? Yet everywhere you look, talk, write, or think you are being taught each of us is unique unto ourselves. So maybe it’s time we discover a new perspective on love.

What is love? In my opinion love in general is an acceptance of an individual  with all their faults, strengths, and uniqueness. Love comes in about as many sizes, shapes, and colors as each person on earth. The love we are discussing here is the one more intimate in nature although it’s substance can vary just as widely. In the most basic sense, true love binds two hearts together with a desire of both parties to journey through life connected by their souls. (A soul being a source of light, love, and the essence of every living thing) It is a willing choice to work through problems and differences while dedicating happiness and happy outcomes to memory. So where in all the excuses does it state true love has boundaries or the soul is less pure than unconditional love?

Although not an expert on religious matters, my experiences with some religions taught me that God tells us to love everyone not just certain ones. I remember stories in the old testament when a barren woman’s husband was allowed to bed another to procreate yet, we are commanded not to commit adultery or fornication. Are these translations of laws or are they examples set forth for us to better understand and respect love of ourselves and others? Should we question when two people have found this gift of love or should we look deeper for the meaning which escapes our knowledge? Love is a beautiful divine gift given from the heart. Being that you cannot make someone unconditionally love you; It can only be found when two people have a shared spark, connection, understanding, empathy, and determination for each other.

Over 15 years this couple (and many others) has proven they have found what so many only wish they could. I am happy for them and even happier that the differences of the previous evening had been resolved. Everyone present and accounted for at this very beautiful touching wedding! This is the second time I have been made aware of a bridge shortening the gap between discomfort and acceptance…maybe there is hope of us learning to love and respect that we are internally the same with outward differences.

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