How Deep Is Your Love?

No, seriously. How deep is it?

OK, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Why am I here? Project 44 asked me here. They said “Pay us a visit. Come check out our guys, they’re a cool bunch. Share a word or two.”

“I will be glad to come!” I enthused. “Do you serve tea? Some cookies, cake, to go with it perhaps? Food?” Are you wondering who I am? If you’re guessing ‘an African woman who loves food’, then bingo!

“Sure!” Project 44 agreed. Tea? This one must be from Western Kenya, they must have thought.

Even as I took the mic they offered me, I wasn’t sure what I would say.

Then I saw a group of big-bodied men struggling to uproot a big tree stump in my neighborhood the other day, and a light-bulb moment came on. 44 (can I call you that?), I might just have something to say to your cool audience after all!

I will clear my throat, take a sip of tea (sweeeet!), then I will hope that none of you will sense my nervousness “…they’re a cool bunch”. You’re a cool bunch – remember that when you get the urge to boo or heckle.

It was huge, the tree. Ginormous. Very conspicuous. It stood at the centre of this school compound, distributing the shade from its branches generously. Lately however, it seemed to have become an inconvenience. As I walked by, I noticed that cabro paving blocks were being laid down around the compound. It stood alone, the other trees having been cut down. I knew it was only a matter of time before this particular tree suffered the same fate.

True to my suspicions, the tree was cut down a few days later as the cabro work progressed. I saw a ‘gang’ of men come by to observe its stump. As I walked past the school on this particular morning, I noticed a four-wheel drive vehicle, with a big chain attached to it, parked beside the stump. Evidently, they wanted the whole tree gone; branches, roots, and now the stump. They had dug around it and cut off its roots. What they needed to do now was pull it out. They intended to tie the chain around the tree stump, two men were doing this already, and then they would use the vehicle to pull and yank it off the ground. Even as they did this, the men panted heavily, sweat adorning their masculine bodies. This tree was not going down without a fight.

The tree had been standing tall for years. It had spread its branches all out, domineeringly. It stamped its authority; “I have a right to be here”, it seemed to say. It had seen season, after season come and go.  It now stood defiantly, as the men tried to brainstorm on how best to destroy it. It wouldn’t be an easy task uprooting such a tree.

I left them to their mission and when I came back that evening, I witnessed their fait accompli. The school compound now lay bare. All paved with cabro. No tree in sight.

Think of love. Marriage. How many marriages require such rigorous work to destroy? How many have roots so deeply ingrained that killing it will require a posse of well-built men, a truck, power saws, axes, machetes, you name it? That is why I ask: How deep is your love?

Everyone seems to agree that divorce rates are at an all time high. Marriages are so easy to destroy nowadays. Why?

But why not?! How is a marriage to last when you base your decision to marry on the size of his wallet? When the money goes, won’t you disappear without necessarily seeking a Harry Houdini stunt to make it happen?

How will you avoid divorce if you are not willing to make sacrifices, to compromise, to do whatever it takes to nourish your love? How will you not split up if you cannot weather the harsh conditions; rainy days, freezing cold and scorching sun? Tell me, how will divorce not hound you when you are unable to remain faithful to your spouse?

If you are not working towards avoiding divorce from the onset of your marriage, then aren’t you walking right into it? I am tempted to think that you plan for divorce just as you plan for ‘happily-ever-after’. You just don’t know it at the time.

We are mostly a ‘microwave’ generation who mostly purchase pre-cooked meals from the grocery stores, toss it into the microwave and eyes on the timer, we impatiently tap our feet as we wait for it to heat up. With no energy to even fetch a plate for the food, we opt instead to eat directly from the packet. Is this ‘microwave’ mentality affecting our marriages as well? We don’t have time to cook anything, do we? Be it food or relationships. We’d rather just jump right to the end? There are better things to do: corporate corridors to strut, classes to attend, deals to strike, money to make… who has the time to ‘cook’ up a healthy relationship storm when there is easier, faster, readily available ‘junk’?

Just like the perfect meal, marriage takes some time, some work and some patience. It involves choosing a recipe that you can work with – a man or woman who shares your values and beliefs. The right ingredients – love, integrity, respect, commitment. The right temperature – a loving atmosphere, neither to burn nor under-cook. It means burning that meal and having the patience to do it over, and over again, until you get it right.

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Is it not obvious that a strong building owes its longevity to the strong foundation during construction; a tree to the deep penetration of its roots to the ground; a strong marriage to the strong values it is based on?

The rate of divorce is high because the foundation of marriage nowadays is shallow. We concentrate on trivialities like physical appearances, wealth, social status, heck even the number of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Go figure!

How much effort will it take to yank your spouse away from you? Will it take an army of able-bodied, bulldozer-wielding, Yokozunas, or will a gentle toss from a feeble pair of hands suffice? Will it take a destructive Tsunami to have your marriage tumbling down, or will a gentle breeze whisk it away like a feather?

As you chew on that, allow me to finish my cup of tea and to grab this chance to thank 44 for offering me this precious cuppa in the light of our difficult economy.

Feel free to ‘avenge’ my visit by stopping by my home at www.perfectlywoman.wordpress.com

I will try to match 44’s generosity. I promise.

Renee

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3 thoughts on “How Deep Is Your Love?

  1. This is a poignant post more ways than one. It was very moving indeed to read about the demise of a fully grown and mature tree that had occupied a central place in the school yard for many years. Unfortunately it was growing in the ‘wrong place.’

    Marriages and relationships will endure when both the parties treat each other with love and respect. No outside force, however powerful, whether from man or nature can destroy a loving relationship nurtured in mutual respect. These are built over time and mature through good times and bad.

    to end, allow me to quote a line from the ‘Desiderata’ which says….”…..Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune…” This is like buying a good insurance policy. We have seen that nothing is impossible in this life. And just like the giant tree at the heart of the school, all good things must come to an end.

    Thanks.

  2. This seems to have come out slightly differently from what I had in mind. Perhaps it was the idea of killing and chopping down a mature stately tree. Your narrative captures beautifully the despair that we all feel when we watch our diminishing forests as they go up in smoke. Think Mau. Now think of the endangered black rhino, killed for the small horn at the tip of its nose. Our elephants, cursed with ivory tusks face imminent extinction. Can we stop this race to the bottom?

    It is fair to remind ourselves that for relationships to grow and thrive there needs to be an input from both parties. As you rightly say we must work at our relationships and we must be prepared to fight to keep them alive. Good marriages will stand the ravages and storms of time only if we are ready to fight for them.

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