Archive for November 21st, 2016

Of Tigers and Feathers – Day 88

緣分。Yuan (second tone) fen (fourth tone). Commonly translated as “fate”, or “destiny”, or sometimes, “karmic affinity”.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, however, if you look at the numerous phrases to do with 緣 – 投緣,得我的緣,有緣無份。有份無緣, etc.

When I say that I have 緣 or 緣分 with someone, I mean that Fate has probably has a hand in our meeting. Why here, why now, why us? Fate. The magnetism of karma. But it also means that there’s an affinity, because there’s plenty of meetings that end up meaning nothing because there’s no pull.
投緣 and 得我的緣 mostly mean the same thing – it’s usually used to describe when there’s a strong draw to someone, when someone manages to click in all the ways. As Anne would say – a kindred spirit.

有緣無份 is where it gets interesting. You might notice that the 份 is not written the same way as it was before, although it’s pronounced the same way. That’s because it’s sort of a play on words. 緣 – Fate, destiny, karmic. 分 – portion, what your lot is, or could mean to measure something out. 份 – is more straightforward. It just means “portion.” So 有緣無份 is literally “has destiny, no portion”.

It’s a phrase that’s heard a lot when lamenting a failed romantic relationship. 有緣無份. 有緣. We loved each other. We just clicked. They were my soul mate. I couldn’t imagine loving another person more. But. 無份. Real life got in the way. Her parents didn’t like me. My parents thought she was from the wrong side of the tracks. I decided to take a job halfway across the globe. She went to graduate school in another state. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Then there’s 有份無緣. Has portion, no affinity, essentially. I got married to this person, but I couldn’t care less if it was her or someone else. I’m just in this for the money/dowry. I’m just in this because my parents said so. I’m just in this because it’s time and I’m not getting any younger and I need/want kids.

I’ve been rolling these words over in my mind lately. Over and over and you know what? I don’t believe in them, especially not in today’s world.

Maybe I moved halfway across the globe. Okay, so that’s what internet is for. Maybe we can’t afford to see each other more than once a year due to finances. That’s what Skype and packages and email is for. Maybe my parents hate you. Are we really going to give up our happiness because of that? To put it bluntly, they’ll be gone before we are, so sacrificing a potential lifetime of happiness to make them happy for a couple of decades is a bad bet. Maybe your parents hate me. Same as above. So there’s a thirteen hour time difference between us. That’s what email and gchat and letters are for. So…

So whatever reasons there are – it’s 2016. We have technology. We have ways of getting places. We have ways of moving things around. Hopefully, we also have expanded horizons, new ways of seeing things, and a heart that is able to stretch and compromise.

Someone once said something to me about timing, about love, about Fate, about destiny and all that, and I don’t believe in much of that anymore.

I believe in choices. I believe in holding on when it’s important. I believe that the decisions you make about your time, your money, your energy, and your words reveal what your heart truly wants in the end. When I love, I am willing to sacrifice, to tether, to bend and twist to better hold someone’s heart within me. If someone is not willing to do the same – then what is it, what are we doing, other than playing at bonfires and fireworks? Bonfires and fireworks, rather than hearths and kitchen stoves. The former may be spectacularly beautiful, but the latter is what gets me through life.

緣分 – where is yours and where is mine?