Love is a wonderous thing. It expands our horizons and fills us with joy. It also encourages us to reach out to others, to give without expectation, to share our God-given gifts and to care for the disadvantaged. I cannot begin to plumb the depths of love any better than Paul does in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Beautiful. It is no wonder that it is read at weddings (at least it was in the era in which I was married).
It seems an impossible list of virtues to live up to all the time. For me, these virtues focus on our intention. Of course, other people will have their own opinions about our behaviour, which may or may not line up with our motivation. This is because we filter life through our own experiences. And many things are done in the name of love which have more to do with human self-interest than selfless objectives.
Valentine’s Day is dedicated to love. We love many people of course. February 14 is a day when we focus on that special someone who knows us better than anyone else; who shares our life, joys and sorrows; and who supports us through it all. Roses and chocolate-covered strawberries and lacy cards with sweet verses are the hallmarks of love on this day. A diamond ring, a special gift, a sumptuous meal or a short getaway are popular means of sharing our feelings for that special person.
Whether that love is fresh and new or mature and settled, we are blessed to experience it. With that in mind, some time ago I wrote this poem. The images are real.
One day I saw a young couple standing on the street,
Face to face.
She, smiling up at him, hands on his upper arms;
He, looking adoringly down at her, arms surrounding hers.
Young love, fresh, electric, entrancing.
Then I saw an elderly couple out for a walk,
Arm in arm.
He, supporting her fragile frame;
She, guiding his steps to aid his failing sight.
Mature love, committed, steady, divine.
Later, a single one sits on a bench, alone,
Picture in hand.
Remembering walks with the dear one no longer here;
Thinking about their young love, growing love, mature love.
A love that remains when only one is left to remember.
Hug the ones you love, dear ones, regularly.
That includes yourself. In case this idea is new to you, here is one way: put your left hand in the pit of your right arm (your arm crosses your heart). Put your right hand on your left upper arm. Squeeze. Close your eyes, smile and breathe from the belly, four counts in, eight counts out. Let your mind absorb the feeling; your body will believe you.
The love passages of 1 Corinthians guide our intentions in this life, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and show us how God loves us through Jesus. Whether you observe Valentine’s Day with others, or are on your own, please do something loving for the sake of it.