“Reader, I married him.” – Jane Eyre
I decided to write this piece to let “some” lovely people know how I fell in love, what made me fall in love, and who I fell in love with. At first I had second thoughts about this piece. It felt like people really won’t be that interested with how I fell in love, what made me fall in love, even more so, who I fell in love with, but then I realised that’s not exactly true. For some reason, people seem to be most interested with stories of love, and I think what’s more interesting about this piece is my declaration of a couple of men that I fell in love with: One is dead for over a hundred years, the other one is a “written” man. So maybe some lovely people will appreciate this post.
I wrote Jane Eyre’s words at the beginning of this blog because my story really starts with her. Reading her encouraged me in a lot of ways, and even more so to love. Let me mention though that I am not married. I am very much single.
I had just finished reading Jane Eyre when I met the first guy I fell in love with. His name’s Oswald.
Judy: “You should read him. I know this thing you’re going through with your mom is not easy. It’s very complicated. I support you. As young as you are, you have a good grasp of the reality that you are in, and you love your mom. I think this guy can help you. He’s very intelligent. You have his way of thinking, I think. You can learn a lot from him.”
Ate Judy is a single woman. She’s more than 15 years older than me. (Ate is a Filipino polite way of calling an older woman or older sister.) She’s one of our elders at church. She heads the prayer team of the church. She’s one of the coolest people at our very traditional church.
“So you can help me? Let’s see then. I would like to find out how intelligent you are.” My thoughts when I first saw Oswald wearing a moss green shirt with some gold words in it.
“If we obey God,” he started, “it is going to cost other people more than it costs us, and that is where the pain begins.”
In my head: “My goodness, it’s like this guy is reading my mind.” Then I finally said, “What exactly do you mean? I thought obedience to Christ is only going to cost me. Cost a lot. Cost ME a lot. What are you saying?”
“Angela, if we are in love with our Lord, obedience does not cost us anything – it is a delight. But to those who do not love Him, our obedience does cost a great deal.” He explained. “If we obey God, it will mean other people’s plans are upset. They will ridicule us as if to say, ‘You call this Christianity?’ We could prevent the suffering, but not if we are obedient to God. We must let the cost be paid.”
Those words made me quiet. I have so many questions in my mind: Who is this guy? Why did he suddenly talk about obedience? Do I really love God?How much do I love Him? Is that how God really planned it? That when we obey, it not only costs us, it costs others too? Do I really love God? How much do I love Him? Am I ready to see my mom “suffer” because of my obedience to God? What does that look like? Should I believe this guy?
I thought I heard my name called to interrupt my thoughts.
I looked up. He then said, “We have no right to think that the type of relationships we have with others should be any different from those the Lord Himself had (see Luke 8:1-3). A lack of progress in our spiritual life results when we try to bear all the costs ourselves.”
“You’re kidding,” was my confused reply.
I thought I heard him sigh and then said, “And actually, we cannot [bear all the costs of obedience]. Because we are so involved in the universal purposes of God, others are immediately affected by our obedience to Him.”
I couldn’t speak. I hear Jane’s words ringing in my ears: “Millions are condemned to stiller doom… millions are in silent revolt against their lot… Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel… they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation… It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”
Some traditional Filipino parents see their children as investments. In that mindset, children are obligated to provide for their family, their parents until the day they die. That came from the “slavery mentality” we inherited from the Spanish colonizers. My mom believes I am obligated to give her all my money, and to provide for the entire family even if she has a husband. My mom believes my entire life is to serve her & her family. I’m the illegitimate daughter. I am the outsider in the family. I am suppose to be obedient to her & her only. My mom is a Christian but she doesn’t go to church. She doesn’t believe in “God’s calling.” Her belief is based on Roman Catholic belief that you can only be considered “good” if you know how to submit to your “superiors” without question. You’re “good” if you know how to do good works to others no matter how bad you treat your family. She doesn’t like me going to church.
She would always say, “This is how you treat your mother? You disobey my commands. God said to honor your father & mother. You call yourself a worship leader? You are disobedient to your mother.”
I was talking to Ate Judy about this struggle. I know my mom was wrong, but I have been trying so hard in so many different ways to explain this to my mother. She’s resolute. I’m just her daughter. She doesn’t need to listen to me. And I have been asking God why He still wants me to stay & keep talking to my mom about these things. I’ve been asking God why do I still need to keep helping them if my mother thinks I’m just a commodity. Now this guy gives me all these things.
“We can disobey God if we choose, and it will bring immediate relief to the situation, but it will grieve our Lord.” He quietly said.
This type of conversation with Oswald went on & on & on. He made me think about a lot of things. He would always say I have a choice. He said that God would respect my choices. He made me question how much I really do love my Lord? He made me think what loving God meant. He talked to me about obedience over & over again.
I realised, at that point, that I’ve never met a man like him before.
I met him back in high school. He was a young man with a reputation. Weird reputation. He seemed to be the wisest guy at school, but has always been weird around girls. Girls adore him though, but he just seems completely oblivious of the fact. I heard he has a penchant for mystery. He seemed interesting to me. Plus his accent’s beautiful.
Love: “You can take a look at my shelf. It should be on top of the books, second row.”
Love is my cousin. She was giving me instructions about the CD of worship songs. That’s when I saw it and exclaimed, “Hey, you have this!” as I reached for one of the books in the shelf. “I had no idea you knew Sherlock.”
She said, “And you do?”
“Yes. I knew him in high school. Are you done with this? Can I borrow it? I mean, I heard a lot about him. Watched him. He always seemed interesting to me. I think he maybe my type of guy.”
Love laughed and said, “Well, you can have him. He’s all yours. He’s really good but I didn’t really enjoy him,” as she gave me a wink.
“See the value of imagination…” he said one night at a coffee shop before I went to work. “We imagined what might have happened, acted upon the supposition, and find ourselves justified.”
“That’s your situation not mine,” I replied.
“See the value of imagination.” I keep hearing his words in my head.
I discovered he is funnier than I imagined him to be. His words have always been so good & beautiful. He has a way of making me remember his words. But if I’m being honest, I think half the time I really don’t understand what he’s saying. It’s just that his accent is so intoxicating that I feel so good even if I’m really not understanding him. It’s incredible how that works.
“It is more than possible; it is probable.”
“You would confer a great favour upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points about the case which promise to make it an absolutely unique one.”
“We can’t command our love, but we can our actions.”
“You can see everything. You fail, however, to reason from what you see. You are too timid in drawing your inferences.”
“Your reasoning is certainly plausible.”
“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”
He would always commend my thoughts. When I’m doubting myself, he reassures me that I am doing alright. He’s always curious about me, my thoughts. He’d always ask for my opinion.
Oh dear romantic reader (Jane Eyre), I fell in love with these men. They captured my heart in ways I never thought I would fall for. Oswald Chambers died in 1917. His wife compiled his thoughts, lectures and turned them to a book in 1927. It is called, My Utmost for His Highest. Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle back in 1887. He is a work of fiction.
The third Man I fell in love and still love so much is Someone who gave His life for me, to redeem me from my sins, and came back to life so He can love me more. His name is Jesus Christ.
There’s a fourth. I can’t tell you much about him yet but I can tell you this, he is Oswald & Holmes in the flesh. And he loves Jesus Christ too.
I hope sooner than later I can declare Jane’s words above for real. For now, I will borrow some of her words still, “In spirit, I believe, we must have met.”