In the background music, the bride is walking toward the altar where the groom is waiting for the moment of happiness with her. Everyone in the chapel fixes their eyes on her, joyful and excited with her. Her eyes are twinkling. Her heart beats in rhythm with the music. Happiness is about to explode. Love is about to be enthroned.
“Stop! You wretched unworthy!”
She hears some aggressive voice. Startled, she turns toward it. She sees that man looming among the crowd. He is the one who induced her to do things that robbed her inner peace. He knows her past clearly. Many times he took advantage of it to threaten, humiliate and terrorize her. He forced her to meet his will. He got so mad when she dared to refuse him. The more she avoided his face, the more he tried to search for her. At times when she had some ‘guards’, he could not approach her and so he would call or text her or stand somewhere whistling to disturb her peace. Unfortunately he is very cunning and evil, that’s why he chooses this critical moment, the moment of her happiness, to destroy her. Seeing his shadow, the bride gets frightened. His showing up reminds her of what has happened in the past. He is like pointing his finger at her face shouting that she is not worthy of the love of the groom, that the groom is a precious, highly-respected and noble person while she is only a poor, dirty and corrupt one. He is arguing that she has no virtues worthy of a perfect person like the groom. He is telling her to acknowledge her real condition and abandon the illusion of having a better life. She just needs to wake up from her illusion and come back to him with no problem. He will give her what is suitable for her as he did in the past. That way is more familiar and so easier for her. He is coming closer with a smile and inviting her to take his hand.
She turns away from him confused. Everyone in the chapel is still following her steps toward the altar. Seeing her walk more slowly, they think she may be nervous or overwhelmed with emotions. No one sees the evil man. Her mind becomes disordered. Her spirit is like being absorbed in a totally negative state. Her ears do not hear the music anymore. She only sees herself with her imperfections. Yes, she has done many wrong things. Yes, she is bad. Yes, she is unworthy. Yes, yes, what that man is saying is right. Her left foot is moving heavily. And when it hits the floor, it stops! She is ‘frozen’!
The bride at this moment is in a dilemma. She has three choices before her: first, stop and withdraw from this happiness; second, continue walking to the altar to meet the groom since she is already in this unchangeable situation where everyone is waiting for this moment; third, what do you think it is?
Dear friend, this story is real. Actually this story tells more about me, about you, about us. Indeed, we have been this bride many times. Talking about her is talking about me, about you; and this is more important for us. Let me continue the bride’s story. Then we will tell our own stories, ok?
The bride chooses the third choice. She decides to move forward, not hesitantly but confidently. Her right foot moves up, then her left foot, then her right, then her left, right, left, right, left, right-left-right-left right left right left …Everyone gets very surprised when seeing her walking faster and faster to the groom. Then she runs toward him, tears on her eyes. They wonder if this is a ‘new style’ of the young generation: Starting slowly, then stopping in the middle, and finally speeding up to reach an emotional climax. Some people are so impressive with this ‘style’ that they stand up and clap their hands. The whole congregation joins them. Wow, total surprise! Of course, the bride does not understand why everyone suddenly did it. The people do not understand why she suddenly did it either. Seeing her run, they clap. The more they clap, the more she runs. The groom has no idea of what is going on but his heart is filled with joy and his arms are open wide to receive her. All burst into tears, the tears of happiness.
However, no one sees the evil man who has been there and how he has terrorized her; no one sees how tense her interior struggle has been; and therefore, no one understands why she has decided to make that decisive step. No one knows that in only half a second, if her right foot did not move forward, this happiness would have vanished completely.
What made her regain her spirit, overcome her guilty sentiments and have confidence to run toward the groom was the moment when she looked up and met the eyes full of love of the groom. That very look liberated her in that critical moment. The evil man wanted her to fix her eyes on her shortcomings to take away her happiness. He wanted her to forget the truth that she was well loved. He absolutely wanted her to forget the truth about the groom. In the meanwhile, the groom was excitedly waiting for the moment when he would embrace her. His eyes were longing to meet hers so as to deliver to her soul one message and only one message: “I love YOU!” His love is the love that embraces her whole person. Her imperfections do not decrease his love but are the authentic motivation for him to care for her even more. He knows her clearly, even more clearly than the evil man does. But the more he knows her, the more he joins his compassionate heart to her suffering and the more he looks for ways to heal her. He wishes he could have been the person who bore all her suffering. O he only wants to take all her wounds and pains on him!
In that critical moment, she met his loving eyes. And, she understood immediately. She understood he understood her. She knew he loved her and she loved him too. And that was enough for her! Meeting her eyes, he was so happy that he wanted to jump for joy. He was perfectly glad because his message of love from his heart finally reached hers. He knew he loved her and she also loved him. And that was enough for him!
That mean man, upon seeing this scene of happiness, is bitterly furious but he cannot do anything in this situation. He has failed because the bribe has realized that true love is never based on the perfection of the past. Everyone has a past that has been broken one way or another. Basing one’s life on the past is creating a dead end. A love which concentrates on the past is a fragile love vulnerable to brokenness and it is not worthy to be called love. She has been freed by a true love, a liberating love. That liberating love is very simple: To love truly is to love everything. The love of the groom is as such.
The evil man withdraws from the chapel. However, he never gives up. He will continue to find ways to attack her peace and happiness because she does not belong to him. She will have to continue to be vigilant and wise. Her way for self-protection is to attach herself to the groom, confidently lean on him, determinedly remain in his loving embrace and never turns her eyes away from his.
Have you seen your image in this story, dear friend? Please tell us your story when it is convenient for you. Now if you care for a personal ‘bride’ story of mine, please click MY STORY.
Read in Vietnamese: https://only3minutes.wordpress.com/tieng-viet/xung-dang/