Hua Mulan: You once said, if you could give your life to end this war, you would do it.
Wentai: It's easy for me to give up my life, but it's too difficult to give up the woman I love.
Hua Mulan: In order that there be no more Tigers, that no more families end up with just a bloody dog tag...
Wentai: I understand... Forget about me.
Hua Mulan: For twelve years, every day I wake up on the battlefield, my first thought is of you. Knowing you are there gives me the courage to open my eyes. Forever after, it will still be the same every day.
I have learned that you don't always have to say the words "I love you" for you to be able to say "I love you." If there was something I learned in that almost one year, it was that there are a thousand ways to creatively say those three magical words, and to show how much you mean it.
"I love you" could very well be replaced by, "You are a pest that wormed its way into our hearts and tool up permanent residence there."
Or it could also be, "You are the most annoying creature on the planet." But you know darned well you really couldn't live without the target of that statement.
It could also be stated simply by saying, "I have your back. No matter what."
And of course, there are the statements like, "I want you to remember how much you mean to me. No matter what happens, I want you to remember that you are important to me."
But when I saw the movie Hua Mulan, whose excerpt of my favorite part is featured above, I realized that this captured the entire essence of saying "I love you" without even saying "I love you."
I cried when I first saw that movie, not only because it was so beautifully tragic, but because it was so overflowing with love on so many facets and aspects. I cried when Mulan's soldiers were cornered, captured, and then systematically butchered by the enemy. I cried when her bestfriend from childhood died. I cried when the remaining soldiers sang of home. I cried when Mulan decided to forsake personal happiness for the greater good of her nation. I cried when Wentai offered to run away with her, and she declined. I cried really hard when she said, "For twelve years, every day I wake up on the battlefield, my first thought is of you. Knowing you are there gives me the courage to open my eyes. Forever after, it will still be the same every day." As far as I know, that was the most beautiful way of saying "I love you" that I have ever witnessed on-screen.
And now, I am fighting the urge to cry because I am remembering the beauty and magnitude of that kind of love -- the kind of love that encompasses self, the kind of love that sacrifices everything for the sake of the greater good, the kind of love that selflessly gives, no matter what the cost, even if the price is death, be it literal or figurative... the kind of love that took the greatest humiliation of all by dying a criminal's death, and then crying out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?" It is no longer about you, nor is it about the person you love. It becomes so much greater and so much bigger than that... Suddenly, in the snap of a finger, I finally realize and understand that it is so much more than that. I realize that there is no other course to take, and that once you decide to give yourself up to the One who is love, you really have no choice except to love, even if it is hard, even if it is impossible.
I understand Mulan. I may not be a general, but I know what it is to wake up everyday in a battlefield. And for the first time in my very colorful life, I can say with all sincerity, "Knowing You are there gives me the courage to open my eyes. Forever after, it will still be the same every day."
I can finally let your ghost go now. Because I finally understand what you mean... I know what you meant, and I understand, even if I can't explain it. Physical presence is no longer necessary to make such things felt, and understood. And if only for that, thank you.