Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What Is Love?

Some Background Music again (should you choose to listen...)



This afternoon, I was fortunate enough to sit in on the final rehearsals for Fiddler on the Roof.  To be in a room with such a talented group of young people leaves me in awe - but this time I was completely struck by the message of the play.

If you are familiar with Fiddler you'll know that one of the pervasive themes of the play is the interplay between love and marriage.  In the old days, marriage sometimes existed without love - and love sometimes existed without marriage - but progress has borne out: the two are better together.

As Tevye (the Father) and Golde (the Mother) must address all of these issues among their daughters, they are forced to examine their own relationship. The following exchange ensues:



(Tevye) -"Golde, I have decided to give Perchik permission to become engaged to our daughter, Hodel."

(Golde) - "What??? He's poor! He has nothing, absolutely nothing!"

(Tevye) - "He's a good man, Golde. 
I like him. And what's more important, Hodel likes him. Hodel loves him. 
So what can we do? 
It's a new world... A new world. Love. Golde..."

Do you love me?

(Golde) - Do I what?

(Tevye) - Do you love me?

(Golde) - Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town
You're upset, you're worn out
Go inside, go lie down!
Maybe it's indigestion

(Tevye) - "Golde I'm asking you a question..."

Do you love me?

(Golde) -You're a fool

(Tevye) - "I know..."

But do you love me?

(Golde) - Do I love you? 
For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

(Tevye) - Golde, The first time I met you 
Was on our wedding day
I was scared

(Golde) - I was shy

(Tevye) - I was nervous

(Golde) - So was I

(Tevye) - But my father and my mother
Said we'd learn to love each other
And now I'm asking, Golde
Do you love me?

(Golde) - I'm your wife

(Tevye) - "I know..."
But do you love me?

(Golde) - Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I've lived with him
Fought him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that's not love, what is?

(Tevye) - Then you love me?

(Golde) - I suppose I do

(Tevye) - And I suppose I love you too

(Both) - It doesn't change a thing
But even so
After twenty-five years
It's nice to know


Two of the most lovely, fresh faced young actors portray Tevye and Golde.  Their portrayal brought tears to my eyes, but I was most struck by how little these young adults actually know about love.  

A very wise teacher told me once that love is not the feeling that guides two lovers towards one another.  That feeling is infatuation. Infatuation is a very good thing but it is a surface level emotion that will either give way to real love or end.  Fortunate is the person who finds true love on the other side of infatuation.  





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