As I sip the subtly sweet, soft intense flavors of my double-short latte, I contemplate caffeine and passion and ponder the swift approach of Valentine’s Day. Yes, the red day is nearly upon us and love (hopefully) is in the air. Are you ready for the poetry and the passion, the red roses, the chocolate indulgence and the sweet red hearts? And what does Valentine’s mean to you?
I asked some readers for their thoughts. Their responses varied from introspective to irreverent:
- “Love is a grave mental disease” (Plato – yes he reads PR)
- “Love is a perpetual moment of eternal grace.” (Michael the Movie Star)
- “The heart has its reasons, which the reason knows not of.” (Blaise Pascal – yes mathematicians ponder love too)
- “Valentines Day? What’s Valentines Day?” (Sarcastic American Girl)
- “Nothing says I love you like a tattoo.” (Keith)
And the old stand by
- “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey. Love the one your with!” (1970, Steven Stills)
Great, but what of love? In this hapless, harried world, it is hard to define the term. Often confused with lust or passion, let’s look at love. What does it mean today, to you? And why is it always tied up with the idea of the other? What about love of self? Should you give yourself chocolate?
What is the Soul of this day? Is, or better yet, should Valentines be a celebration of love or lovers?
It may be sweet for the sweet hearts or but what of the lonely hearts? If it is love, should we not give chocolate to our families and friends, meet them for a festival of friends… a celebration of loved ones.
Enough! Say no to the kilocalories of chocolate and the wrenching of roses from their mortal coil. Say no to the feeble recitations of “violets are blue…” and to the endless love songs on the radio.
(And for the lost and lonely) Say no to the love laments of the sad song set.
So what then? I say side step the unrealistic expectations and celebrate your freedom from obligation, from the co-dependency holiday that says “I need validation of our love.” And give yourself the time to ponder its true heart, to consider your sweetheart or lover, to contemplate love in your life, and to make it real for you.
Saints and Souls
Unwittingly, Saint Valentine started something that took on a whole new meaning – something variously commercial & not, rousing & forgettable, occasionally upsetting & sometimes beautiful, dreaded by some & anticipated by others. It can again transform and we can be the ones to do it. Let’s make this Valentine’s truly interesting and inspiring.
Though this saint’s day has little to do with his martyrdom, it may be that it is the saint within us that we hope will come out. Maybe Valentines should be a time when we take stock in loves & lovers, our own hearts & those souls who have shown us love, the people who affect our lives if only with a passing smile or a warm welcome with your daily latte.
Not everyone can be a saint, but maybe you can be a saint to someone for a day or even a moment on Valentines. Find your soul in someone else if you can, then give to it, give for yourself, for that self(less) satisfaction, and expect nothing. Then give your love to others, to those who would never expect anything from you. Be kind to those who have loved and lost and kinder still to those who have never found love at all. Make some stranger your secret Valentine. Make their day and watch from afar. Then if you can, find the poetry within yourself and apply it to every day, every moment, don’t wait for the “Lovers day” before you show it or it will be too little too late.
For all you hopeless romantics out there (and I include myself in that mix), forgive my tirade and enjoy your celebration of love as you always have, or take my advice and do it with a new perspective. And if you dare, take the time to tell me, what Valentines means to you, or how you found your kindred soul in Seoul? – send us some feedback
Finally, for all those who I love, for their friendship, their companionship, their mere presence in my life, I ask simply, “Will you be my Valentine?”