Annie Daigneault, an auxilliary nurse at L’Hôpital Charles-Lemoyne, Longueuil, decided to rent my apartment. Her daughter is already going to the primary school right in front of my block building and she is moving out from her boyfriend’s condo.
She is just a special potential French speaking tenant with a proper and correct writing style (non-computer-geek kind of writing which I appreciate!). Don’t forget, even you are educated in French, it is not guaranteed that you will always write correct French! At the end of her e-mails, she has a proverb:
“Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder dans la même direction!!”
That stands out for me! That helped me see Annie as a person. Usually I check credit for the qualification of the tenants, but her good French writing with such a proverb, plus the fact that she is a nurse saved me the necessity of checking. Someone who has the insight to find out and share the proverb with her friends and contacts is a trustworthy person!
“Love, it is not looking at each other, it is rather looking together in the same direction!”
What a wonderfully beautiful, powerfully energizing proverb! Yes, we look at each other in order to find ourselves as life partners, and once found to walk together on the path, if we continue looking at each other, where are the eyes for the road – its bumps, its thorns by the roadside, its ziggy-zaggy change of directions and who will open the umbrella to shelter both of us when the rain pours down? How far can we go and what destination can we reach if we continue looking at each other?!
Scrutinizing their husbands is the traditional habit of many Chinese wives. The outstanding example is my mom when she was younger. I didn’t know that until she told me all what she thought and felt about my father. So many times she complained, wined and self-pitied that she married a person who didn’t know how to cook, change clothes diapers, comfort her when she was sad, etc, etc. So many times she dumped what she discovered in my father into my little ears trying to show that she was the one who held up the pillars of the family! She not only looked at my father closely, because they had been very close every day of their lives, but she looked at my father’s family members closely and vented her very personal biased point of view into my little heart! As a result, against her wishes, I took my father’s side. In the beginning, I would remain silent, but as I grew older, I started telling her what I thought and felt about the whole thing. Remembering it was my father who served as the High School & College Head Masters successfully, I told my mom: “Yes, he is not as satisfying as you would wish, but who are you to judge your husband in such a mean and disrespectful manner?”. It was his hand I could hold when I was afraid and it was him again who always walked me along the railroads when I came back from or going to my university at winter and summer vacations…
Obviously my mom forgot to look in the same direction together with my father and kept fussing about the life chores and my father’s family. She became such an expert in looking at my father, finding out his faults and those of his family. It seemed she was such a perfect person, yet the most extraordinary and comic fact is that, of the 2 people, it was she who came from a poorer, less educated and a family with an abusive step mother while she had been acting as if she came from a royal one, behaving like a Queen detesting and looking down on this and that!!
Lucky are we women today that we do not have to work and look after our families by ourselves as my mother did. The Chinese men have improved with time, and of course with all kinds of pressure, like that from my mother to my father. Yet, has this improvement from the side of our men eased the pressure they get from their women? Not necessarily, I think it has nothing to do with the improvement of our men or our living conditions or the amount of money the husband can make a year! The tendency has always been there, the tendency by which Chinese women can never be satisfied, always wanting more, from their husbands, children, working positions, money, etc. I myself as a woman, wonder how much a man can do for his wife and how far can he go under such constant unpleasant pressure feeling like a bastard!
“Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre… “, what a wonderful wise saying! Who in this world is perfect? Who in our life can say that they have no faults? Who has the power to enslave our partner into subordination by withholding sex or the money the man has or the important position one of us holds? We choose our partner to walk the road with us, we should know that we are not perfect, we should know that each person has its difficulties in their jobs and that each person has its reasons and obstacles to go further forward. What should we do? Belittling the other, thinking and saying they are stupid, lazy, and a coward? Venting our dissatisfaction to our children about their faults proving we are right and perfect? If we do that, there are no limits to how stupid a person can be and how destroying and dangerous we can become!
“Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder dans la même direction!” Stop looking at each other, forgetting the goal we are holding! Stop finding faults in each other forgetting that we are the same imperfect human beings. Love is to look into the same direction together with your partner, watching out for the road – its bumps, its thorns by the roadside, its ziggy-zaggy change of directions and opening the umbrella to shelter both of us when the rain pours down! How far can we go and what destination can we reach if we look together into the same direction?