Marriage And Family Got Me Out From Under My Philosophical Rock


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MV Conversation

Marriage

Future Time

“So, it must have been hard on you,” replied MV. “It must have felt like you were talking to a wall.”

“I was depressed and getting more so,” I said. “Even taking classes had lost its luster.”

“That’s when you chose marriage,” said MV.

“Yeah, that’s when I began to see marriage and family in a whole new light,” I responded. “I even remember the exact moment of that realization. I turned on the music and pulled my rocker into the ‘sweet spot’ in front of my speakers for the umpteenth time. Then I envisioned myself twenty years hence, and all I could see was a wrinkled me, sitting in front of the same music, alone, for the duration of my life. The music lost its luster after that. And that’s when I asked myself, ‘How does God do it?’”

“Do what?”

“Make quality happen,” I replied. “And then it dawned on me. It’s not necessary to know what you’re doing to get it done. All it takes is family. Within the family structure, whether you like it or not, quality freedom happens. Care giving is, essentially, a teaching and learning process. It has to be that way.”

“And here we are,” said MV, “looking back at a life totally different from the one you had once envisioned.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “and all because I stopped fighting with my own philosophy. I got out from under ‘Sisyphus’s boulder,’ so to speak, and just walked away. The thought of finding a wife and raising a family increasingly became for me more divine and heartfelt than anything my self-imposed ‘philosophical existence’ had to offer. With that goal in mind, nature became large again, and, just like in those black ink Taoist drawings, I became very tiny.”

“And that was just the beginning,” responded MV, “the beginning of the hard part.”

“Yes, that kind of thing was never easy,” I replied. “Especially if you’re looking for more than a physical relationship. I knew it would be almost impossible to find someone to share my philosophy with, but I began to search anyway.”

When Mr. Rockefeller Marries Ms. Tiffany Its Still An Arranged Marriage

Marriage Concluded

“That’s when you got the pen pal idea, eh!” MV responded.

“Yes, that’s when I started corresponding with Asian ladies,” I said. “I thought if I could meet a Buddhist I would be half way home. It didn’t take long to find out that it wasn’t going to happen, though. The women in the brochures were all Christian. As fate would have it, however, I met Shirley. She was out for a hike when I met her. Well, actually, I had met her a couple years previous. Her husband and I sat through a boring Theory of Knowledge class together, but after her divorce she moved into the apartments just kitty-corner from my own. It seemed natural that we should get together. Well, it seemed natural at the time. She was a full blood Anishanabe Indian.”

“That was a disappointment?” MV replied.

“Yeah, you could say that,” I said, “She was too independent. We were too much alike in that respect I guess. We both wanted it to work, though. I was sure of that. It’s just that it wasn’t meant to be. She was an artist devoted to her art and extremely possessive when it came to her twelve-year-old son. Our affair bottomed out on the trip we took out West. Our relationship ended shortly after that.

“So how long did it take before you and your wife got together?” MV responded.

“After that, a little more than a year,” I replied. “Well, maybe two years. Our correspondence lasted six months or more.”

“You and your mail order brides; a hundred and fifty years ago the frontiers needed people,” said MV, “but now?”

“In a way, you could say I was living on the frontier,” I said. “By holding beliefs that nobody shared, I had, more or less, isolated myself. No real communication could take place. By that time, however, it didn’t matter. I had already given up on finding a wife and was concentrating on the first stages of another bicycle trip, a long distance one.”

“Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that,” replied MV. “You were going to bicycle around the world, right?”

“Absolutely,” I said, “I had received permission to take a leave of absence from CMU, something agreed upon only after I had highlighted the good publicity that my bicycle trip would generate, and I was only three thousand dollars shy of putting it all together.”

“And that was the stickler,” replied MV. “The money part, it just didn’t happen, did it.”

“It should have,” I said, “but the summer construction job that I had lined up fell through.”

“So the trip was off,” MV responded.

“Not quite,” I replied, “While planning out the trip, I once again took up writing to overseas pen-pals. I was writing to five or six ladies from Asia and India. On my bike, when I got close to where they lived, I had planned to turn my pen pals into oases. I knew from past experience that I would definitely appreciate those rest stops, not to mention the opportunity to get a look-see into the local culture. When I told one of my pen pals that my trip was postponed, maybe even cancelled, she asked me if I had ever considered marriage. One thing led to another and six months later I ended up sending her round-trip airfare. With Agnes, Asian culture came home to me, rather than the other way around.”

“That sounds a bit cold if you ask me,” said MV.

“Cold! Mr. Cold himself is describing me as cold,” I replied. “Maybe you’re a little hard of hearing. The whole thing, community, family, love, it’s all about God, and doing God’s work, remember?”

“Well, it still sounds cold to me,” said MV.

“Let me put it this way,” I replied, “arranged marriages happen all the time, in every culture. Even when Mr. Rockefeller marries Ms. Tiffany, that’s an arranged marriage. As my old history professor used to say when arguing the merits of Japanese arranged marriages: ‘It’s as old as the teapot philosophy. A hot pot cools off. But, a cold pot has only one way to go—when the stove heats up, the tea gets hot. Ancient wisdom becomes ancient because it works.’”

“So that’s what happened in your case,” replied MV.

“In a roundabout way,” I said, “but it was a little more complicated than that. Love is not only about hot tea; it’s about ‘tea for two.’”

“What did your family and friends think of your new wife?”

“She wasn’t my wife yet,” I replied. “We didn’t get married until two or three weeks after she arrived. My mother wanted grandchildren, so she was okay with the idea. My friends thought it strange, but they knew me, so it wasn’t all that strange. Actually, the only negative reaction I got was from a professor friend of mine. He was an intelligent rock and roll singer who just happened to have his PhD in Islamic studies. Politically, he leaned to the left, and we got along just fine; that is, until he found out that I was thinking of marrying a pen pal. It wasn’t that he had anything against foreigners. It was just the opposite. He didn’t like the idea of Americanizing other cultures, which, I guess, was what I was doing. The short story was that the two of us stopped being friends while I became a husband and dad.

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