True Love Is Selfish
By Atty. Farah G. Decano
“THE heavens must have heard my prayers.”
Ten years ago, I heard this from an elated prospective mother who requested my legal services in the adoption of a few months old foundling. There was this inexplicable joy oozing from her aura. Her eyes welled up with tears as she conveyed to me her thrill about the motherhood that would soon be hers.
I asked her if she intended to tell the child about his adoption. “I would tell him that my love is stronger for him than any child I may give birth to because I chose him. He is a child of my freedom and my will, thus my choice,” she replied.
The prospective adopters did not want to have a kid in order for them to have someone to take care of them. To them, children must not be treated as investments who could take care of the parents during their old age. They must be considered as living receptacles of a couple’s overflowing love for each other. I saw this intense love between the prospective parents.
Years have passed since then, she along with her husband were the happiest couple. Finally, a life separate from the couple’s was in their household to share and experience their professed undying love. I could not help but be proud seeing their happy family pictures on Facebook because I was part of this dream made possible.
Ten years later since my first meet-up with the mother, I heard the tragic news of the death of the adopted child. He died allegedly from a sudden fall.
Ah, how fleeting could life be. Who would have expected that this angel that fell on the lap of the couple will, in a few short years, someday leave them in the same swift manner. The loving adoptive couple is beyond devastation.
The only comfort, I surmise, they could resort to is the thought that this ephemeral child of their choice was loved enough. There was no room for what ifs. They could not have loved their offspring better.
* * * *
It is February. We know what month it is. My favorite sorority sister and lawyer joined me in my ruminations about love.
What is the measure of love?
“To love without measure” was my quick answer. This was something I learned from Opus Dei study centers. I extended that standard to the point that, “love is sacrifice.” When one is ready to give up something or do something painful for the other, then that is love.
She quickly retorted, however, that such love was only for Our Creator, our parents and our children. It should not apply to romantic love. To her, the latter must always be conditional. She said that she could not imagine something amorous could be self-annihilating. For what else is there to share with the other when the self is no longer whole and complete? What else is beautiful about oneself, when the latter is wounded and tattered all over?
She provided the example of a third party in a love triangle. She explained that my standard that, “love is sacrifice” is not applicable to the third party’s experience. She rejected the idea that the third party, who may appear as sacrificing, is deeply in love. My opinionated friend strongly suggested that true romantic love is selfish. It is a love that cannot share. If such amorous relationship is distributed to others, then the one who truly loves, will choose to leave. For the pain, according to her friend, is unbearable. She questions the motivations of those who could withstand the hurt being a second fiddle. She strongly remarked that these people stay in these arrangements because they derive other benefits from the relationship, either wealth, prestige or mere companionship, not just love. “Kung totoong mahal mo, ipagdamot mo naman ang sarili mo,” she ended her argument.
It may sound judgmental. But heck, I am convinced.
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