What constitutes a diplomatic marriage (marriage of diplomacy) in our context today?
In the time of my ancestors it meant sending a princess to wed a king or prince from another kingdom to establish and affirm diplomatic ties between kingdoms and nations.
Given that by officially recognising my Javanese lineage in my national identity documents, it revives the links to my mother’s ancestors from an abdicated throne.
The abdication itself was a diplomatic act to give legitimacy to the federal government of a new republic for the benefit of not just the kingdom which resides in a political capital but also to the broader lands of the new republic.
The sacrifice for a greater good. How can you give up the throne and it’s encumbered authority to make way for another system of governance?
That is a question I asked myself in various stages of my career in professional and volunteer life. What would make my ancestors do in my shoes? That helps me to make decisions of what to give and when to give.
Does a king need a kingdom? No, a king does not need a kingdom to serve his purpose. A king’s purpose is to serve and protect his people and put the wellbeing of those whose lives are under his care first before his own. A king is a custodian of the realm and the agent of service to the people for the highest power, which in our context is God.
Carrying on the legacy of my ancestors was not a conscious choice. When I made my first decisions as a youngster, I had not yet learnt of this legacy. I only had the values and upbringing of my parents.
Therein lies the true test of legacy, where do values tanscend? Do values transcend through authority or responsibility. The legacy of service that I unknowingly inherited is that of accepting an inate sense of responsibility for my people.
Who are my people? The people whose lives I can touch directly or indirectly through my intent and actions.
The decision to make volunteerism and philanthropy my full-time career as a full-time career was neither a logical nor emotional one, it was a spiritual one.
Some might say it is finding your calling. I think of it as the point I became enlightened. Enlightened to the true pure purpose of my existence, that is simply to help and protect others.
In the way of that decision was an offer to build on another legacy, a job offer to succeed an existing leader in running the operations of a global market leader in high technology.
Given that that was a guaranteed huge payday and instant authority that would mean an easier life for myself, family and core team, it was not what I wanted to do with my life.
I was offered a corporate throne, which I turned down.
That was not the legacy I was born to succeed. I have my own inherited legacy, from generations past, of monarchs and missionaries.
I see my work now as missionary work, not for my faith in particular but for the mission of those that treasure and value human life.
Having gone through the various overlapping phases of life as a scholar, soldier, worker (executive) and trader (entreprenuer). When the time came to receive enlightenment, it was easy to turn down the offer and to choose life as a servant.
I give away most of my income to charity and run what is in reality a professional charity or rather fancifully labelled a ‘social enterprise’. I get by on the values of frugality and modesty. Though it must be said that I do not consider myself a modest personality, I am happy to live through modest means.
I do have side careers as a developer of ideas and assets in the sectors of building, technology and finance, but those cumulatively occupy less of my time in total than mission work, philanthropy and volunteerism.
Am I a leader? No, I am a servant, my employer is God and my customers are the people. I go where God means for me to be and do/learn what is meant for me when God means for it to happen.
Am I a religious person? Not by ritual, no I am not a strict ritualist. I am a faithful person, that is my name literally, ‘Eman’ or ‘Iman’ however you spell it means ‘Faith’. I have faith in God and his plans for my fate.
That said, I don’t actually live in the moment and go where the winds blow. I do what is necessary to create the peace that is needed in the hearts and minds of my people regardless of whether they know or appreciate it. I have done things in my life that I will have to live with and answer for at the day of God’s final judgement, and I am at peace with that because I know that was the path I had to take to serve my purpose in this life.
I am still young and have many more years left in this life. Life is long enough to make mistakes to learn from, and I will be learning my whole life. I will never be perfect, but I will and must always be growing.
I do not want to leave a legacy of my own. I only exist to sustain that purpose which already exists for the benefit of my people, for there are no true kings on this world, only servants of God.
Now back to ‘diplomatic marriage’, what does it have to do with everything I have just said?
Well it has everything to do with it. I realise that whomever I marry, it will always be a diplomatic marriage because it will tie me to opportunities to be part of another culture and experience the world through the eyes of another person. That is the value a relationship should create, the elimination of selfishness that exists within us as individuals and make us wiser for it. All functioning marriages and partnerships are in essence such “diplomatic marriages” that bridge different world views and create enlightenment that should make us better people.
Whomever it is that we marry, has the ability to make us better people from the experience. However it is still up to us to appreciate and learn from that experience.
Which brings me to my final point about legacy. I am in no rush to be married, because I know that when l am ready and fit to create that value in the life of another person, that God will entrust that respobsibility to me then. However until that time comes, my focus must remain on my missionary work and what I must do to sustain it.
Generations of my ancestors have lived faithfully by God’s plans and I should have no reason to waiver from their legacy.