Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary. – Oscar Wilde
I met my wife face-to-face over fifteen years ago. For more than a year before that, we chatted and got to know each other over the Internet. We found each other when one day, after several terrible events in my life, a voice whispered in my ear to look for someone to talk to about life. I have always tried to follow this inner voice that has guided me since I was a kid. It is not part of the monologue we all have with ourselves, or magical thinking. The divine Universe has spoken to me numerous times. My kids were visiting their mom. Alone in the house with nothing but two cats to talk to, the idea appeared out of nowhere to search the old Microsoft Messenger users list. I searched for divorced mothers over 35 and wrote to a dozen or so asking them to check out my profile and write back if interested. On New Year’s morning I heard from Happy Hong (her screen name).
After less than a month, I was writing only to her. We chatted with cameras and exchanged letters. One fateful day she closed her letter with the word LOVE. Our relationship changed from a friendly exchange to a potential for long-distance romance. Her eyes reached around the world and lit my heart with a love-light that shines even brighter today. I fell in love. The following month, while we were chatting I witnessed a softening of her expression in the magical moment the door to her heart opened. I had been telling Hong about being a single dad for so many years. After that, it was as if a golden thread had been attached to our souls. She called it projecting Qi (Chi) at a distance. And I called it the power of love.
When I was getting ready to meet Hong for the first time, I asked if there was anything I could bring her. She said a good Swiss Army knife and a special gift for her son. She told me sweetly, her little boy had always wanted a robot. The next day I went to Best Buy and bought a $100 dancing, talking robot. It took up half the space in my suitcase. I have never seen a happier kid than when he opened that big box and saw the robot his mom had given him. He has been part of my life ever since.
Before we got married, I read a lot of books and stories about multicultural and interracial marriages. From what I had read, I knew when you marry a Chinese woman, you also marry her family, and close circle of friends. That is true. But the depths of commitment are much greater than can be described in books. Being part of another culture is complicated to say the least. And American and Chinese cultures are very different in many ways. Integrating with a society based on venerable traditions and ancient folk beliefs requires patience and understanding. The one thing that has held us together throughout our sometimes tumultuous relationship is the power of love.
My wife took four years before she agreed to marry me. Many factors made her resist getting married again. For many months after I moved to China, and the initial cultural honeymoon (first stage of Culture Shock) wore off, I pushed back against the iron walls of a dense culture. We struggled to find our equilibrium as a couple. But eventually we found our footing. I learned to act more in line with the Taoist concepts of Wu Wei – effortless action.
To practice Wu Wei you resist forcing your beliefs on others. Release selfish desires. When you always push your opinion in a relationship, it creates friction which prevents the relationship from growing. To overcome that chafing, put away your ego and see the situation as it is, and not what you want it to be. In a mature relationship, as often as possible, you should become like a willow and bend with the winds. Truly be like water and flow in the moment. Now, after being apart for over eight months, the power of love has brought us back together. I am certain the power of love will keep us together – forever. Love is the most powerful force in the Universe – express love in your life. Peace.