Recently along my studies of honoring the parents I uncovered a Finnish paper that discusses falling in love among the elderly, a bracket the researcher sets as between 50 to 90 years old.
It was for me like taking a peek into a magical world, something I would not have known existed unless someone who has gone there told me of what it’s like. On the other hand I felt that such a world does perfectly make sense because the elderly, after all, are distinguished only from the rest of the population by the length of experience-years they have already logged in. I would even say that they, when all is said and done, are the ones who know better about most things, especially love, than the rest of us.
That information led me to think of a friend who “fell in love” with a man many years older than her. The time has come to talk about it.
There is, however, a point of contention. By her life story I understood that “falling in love” for her was not a matter of fireworks and hoopla but a going down into the water table. It’s as if her psyche simultaneously absorbs the phenomenon through the pores of her subconscious and lets it dwell deep down among her base components, at the level where her foundational reservoir of soul-existence constantly shift shapes while remaining the same so as to keep her propped up, like the way her skeletal system does.
In that foundational reservoir is her love for God, for family, and her self. The many instances of infatuation in her life is not found in there. Then, again, she (let’s name her here as Firith) classifies her “infatuations”. So I would say that there’s one guy (that is, neither a boy nor a man, and let’s call him Pama) with whom she was infatuated but who became like a favorite cousin to her. Pama is someone whom Firith has a high respect for and she does not classify him now as among her “infatuations”. Infatuation, for Firith, is what she would feel for a face but with whom she doesn’t give a hoot of how they perceive her. She just, uh, finds them fascinating, and that’s where the buck stops. She won’t even care to come up to them to say hello, even for friendliness’ sake, of which Firith always takes with respect, too.
Firith and I have long ago agreed that “falling in love” is a very relative experience. Some speak of it, or even shrill, all the time. Others never speak of such a thing happening to them for their whole lives. Firith spoke only to me of her recent encounter of it and she will remain silent of it forever, so she said, and knowing her I think she could do it, too. However, she herself suggested that I talk about it some time here, as her way of celebrating it with the rest of creation (that’s my way of saying it, though 🙂 ) At least this is something our circle of friends agree on: that loving is life is free is living is freeing is celebrating.
While we were still kids I wouldn’t have known it of her but when we were about to leave college and go our separate ways, when we began to analyze our past in face of the apprehension for our future, Firith related (with great laughter and relief) how she would easily be infatuated with a boy starting when she was 5 years old. She recalled the names (dozens!) with whom she “fell in love at sight” and on average their names started with either J or D. Girls do tend to do this, finding patterns among whom they fall in love with and such, and though I found it a bit silly (really, what’s with J and D?) I now understand that these ruminations are part of a growing girl’s subconscious effort at trying to get to know her own self. And so J and D, and let’s leave it at that, for Firith, haha.
For Firith, however, falling in love does not make her “lose” her head. We’ve heard and read about these things, in novels and television drama series, and the recurring theme is that angst comes along in romantic situations. That is, falling in love almost always presents with it either problems or intrigues. In fairness, though, I can understand a bit how the menfolk in my family can simply exhale audibly and turn their backs on me for a hasty retreat when they see me absorbed in an emotional acting-session on screen. This may be one of the reasons why Firith didn’t elaborate on her many infatuations. She found them insubstantial topics for conversation, except for the few times when it could contribute to our lighter moods.
But one time I became fearful for Firith when I saw her almost losing it, and, unbelievably, to a youth many years her junior (let’s call him Tim). To others’ eyes they were either the very best of friends, or lovers. Firith still would not tell me much about it, for reasons I can only have an inkling on, but the way I know my friend she would never play at “love”. She’s like this: if boyfriends are for the purpose of marrying then why get one with whom one isn’t considering of marrying. Really, she’s as archaic as girls can get nowadays. However, since I haven’t heard of all stories of all girls in the world in the present context, then who knows, there could be lots and lots of girls like Firith out there, living against the mainstream tide that a girl MUST have a either a boyfriend or a husband.
If not for friends who think similar to Firith, and for the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by C. P. Estes, I, too, would have succumbed to this misguided collective conviction. I have nothing against having a mate but I do have something against senselessly hankering after about just any-one (eherm, but sometimes it has to be said like that…) !peace!
I asked Firith during one of the get-togethers that we would insert into our crazy schedules if the thing with Tim is now okay. She had to think for a while before responding, an indication that she was being cautious. We’ve been relating stuff to each other for ages but there are times when you have to let your friend, and even yourself, withhold some, and for legitimately trustworthy reasons but never out of mistrust. I could see then quite plainly that had there been a “man” in her life (aside from the “men” in her family — grandfather, father, brother, nephew) then it would have been Tim. I could see, too, that Firith wouldn’t allow him to be classified as that. She had refused Tim entry into her water table.
When Firith was finishing her grad degree she was already in a prolonged (though suppressed, and that’s how strong Firith is, really) quasi-depression. At that time Tim befriended her and it was as if for her a bud suddenly sprouted in the middle of winter. Though Firith had us around her she also kept within her self-imposed solitude. We never heard much about how it was with her and Tim. Both presented a normal-facade to us and there was no chance to look closer. Gak!! Did Firith fall in love with a winter bud of whom none of us her close buddies are privy to?
Thank goodness that episode of our lives are now over and we can now stop worrying about her heart, so to speak. At least I, for one, know about it and I can assure everyone that our dear girl is fine, heart and all, without getting into the details. There will be time for the telling of all that.
It’s because, so she told me, of Keith. She didn’t “fall in love with him”, fireworks and hoopla and all. A long time ago Keith came up to her team and greeted them all, it being an inter-organizational meeting and representatives from all over have come to participate. Keith wouldn’t be someone familiar to us, to our worldview. He inhabits what we’d call a screen-world and a jargon-savvy universe. Belatedly we analyzed him as even an unusual six-footer, someone who does not belong to a single box, limited and categorized. That is, he has two feet firmly planted in three different contexts. Of course we have no way of knowing for sure, and you know how girls can talk together using multi-layered paradigms, haha! 😀 But Keith was, even in that first meeting, friendly to Firith without being needy, helpful without being pushy, generous with his knowledge without being showy. He came across to her as uncomplicated and sincere. However, she never sent him an email like she told him to, for reasons that are non-grave but are of a matter of consequence.
After many more months Keith came to another organizational meeting again. Things were like as before but this time Keith bemoaned why ever did she not write to him. Firith decided right there and then that Keith was a trusted friend. There were other girl-things (it will have to take an entire novel to tell, haha!) she told me about and I became convinced that Firith had kept her head all the while, in this thing with Keith. I mean, this is not a matter of heart-vs-head, but a matter of both working together, as they always ought to.
Surprisingly Firith is happier now. She’s related with Keith for only a few days (inclusive of the first and second meetings, that are far apart) and her understanding of love has already deepened. Much more than what we have read in respectable books and seen from respectable movies Firith has now, to my envy, the capability of loving without needing. Keith had to go away and they will never see each other again but for Firith what Keith gave her, like God’s eternity, is always an abiding present.
Firith’s story made me see that love can be something that is not held on to for fear of losing it. Love is, to say it simply, something that is never lost. When God hides His face from us, like the way it happened between Him and Job, God continues to love. What the Bible says of love banishing fear has become a reality to Firith and I think she’s even more surprised than I am of having seen it first-hand, considering the times she went through with Tim and her other so-called close friends.
Firith had been praying for healing, I know of this, and now she’s proven to herself once again that God answers prayers, loves, supports, and takes care of His children.
I’ve wanted to fall in love, too (especially after reading about Joo Jin-Mo wishing to be infatuated, heheh) but reflecting now on Firith’s love story I therefore conclude that the best thing for me to be dreaming about nowadays is just to finish my school hoopla, and !ASAP 🙂
Hope you’ve been inspired by Firith’s story, too 🙂
Ciao for now!
girl-and-dove art edited from the original by albumsource.com. Thanks loads!