Friday, June 20, 2014

Widow of the Living

   “Every nation in the world has a divorce law, except the Philippines and the Vatican City, which has no procedure for divorce.  In these two countries, laws only allow annulment of marriages.” – Wikipedia 

   Annulment in the Philippines cost an arm and a leg.  Only the rich, celebrities and those remarrying to foreigners can afford to annul a previous marriage.  The rest, the Filipinas who have been abandoned by their husbands, are simply calledmga viuda sa buhayor ‘widows of the living’.  They are single mothers who in legal documents are listed as married.  If they should, by sheer hard work, build a house or any asset for that matter, the missing-in-action husband can pop up and claim part ownership.  Unfair! But then it had been said “All is fair in love and war.”

   Celia was good looking, smart, confident and hard working.  She was a widow of the living.  She raised her children by herself.  The children’s father came in and out her door like a vacationing tourist.  Each arrival brought excitement and hope.  Each departure left disappointment and a broken heart, mostly hers.  

   The widow of the dead gets sympathy.  The widow of the living gets blame.  Her parents blame her for marrying a loser.  Her children blame her for not holding on to their father.  Society blames her for not finding someone better.  She blames herself for all of the above.

   As such, a widow either of the living or dead has only one to turn to - “A father of the fatherless and a protector of widows is God in his holy dwelling.” (Psalms 68:5) That same God gave the first wife to the world’s first husband, saying “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)  Adam and Eve had no father and mother but they were so advised to emphasize the importance of the marriage vow. 

   Job lost his health, his wealth and all his children but not his wife.  Everything he lost were returned to him but God did not allow Job to lose his wife who could, just as well, have been replaced. (Book of Job)

   The story of Adam and Job shows how much God values the wife.  The next time you see a husband who has abandoned a wife look very close and you will catch a vacuum in there no one can fill. 

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