Friday, February 15, 2008


Anna and the Blind Tobit, Rembrandt

Despite the fact that the room is swathed in darkness, and that the only source of light comes from the window, AND that Tobit is blind, I believe that Tobit can see the light, not just the darkness. I’d like to think that he can feel the warmth of the sun tickling his neck. The fact that the side of Anna’s face that’s directly hit by the sun is also the side nearest Tobit…well, wouldn’t that imply that they still choose to see that small patch of light—of goodness—in the midst of darkness?

I look at Anna and the Blind Tobit, and I see love. Hope. Oh, not the Hallmark type with three dozen roses, 4.5 Ascher-cut diamond rings, and horse-drawn carriages, butterflies, fairy tale Disney kind of love. I’m talking about real love. The kind of love where you cry, disagree about politics, frustrate each other…but also laugh, compromise, inspire, and stand by each other. The kind of love where the man puts down his shield and allows himself to cry on his lady’s shoulders. The kind of love where a woman feels most beautiful in her man’s oversized flannel shirt than in a slinky dress and fierce heels. The kind of love where forever is a word whispered on the deathbed, and not against the backdrop of violins and sunsets.

That kind of love.

And you know, I was lucky enough to have caught a glimpse of Anna and the Blind Tobit in real life. From February 2001 to November 2002, in fact. From when my da had a stroke until he died. Mom held da’s hand and whispered to him softly. Mom was there at the hospital and at the skilled nursing home every single day, from the time they opened til whenever they politely asked her to “get some rest”. She loved him, flaws and all. Loves him still. Da was her first everything, and so far, her only everything. I once asked her, you know, about three years after da passed away, “Why don’t you find someone else? You’re beautiful, and you’re young.” Mom just looked at me with those dark brown eyes of hers and smiled, “When I married your daddy, I promised to love, honour, and cherish him, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, even if death do us part.”

So, yeah…What is love? Well, I may not have enough words to capture it, but I have an image.

Anna and the Blind Tobit.

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We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl