We’ve been through some tough times for love.
On a personal level, I’ve navigated fallout from a divorce, but more than that, as a community we’ve been bombarded by relentless forces of anger, division, and hate. Compassion, hope, and affection have had difficulty finding their voices in these confusing times, and all of us have suffered for it.
So my Valentine’s Day post is dedicated to something I think we’ve lost touch with, but that I still very much believe in: Love.
Not only romantic love, but love in all its manifestations. Love between family members, love among friends and community. Love for strangers and even – as the Gospel teaches – love for our enemies. Love for the world at large and the many creatures we share it with. Love for ourselves despite our failings and because of our many gifts.
Love is the most meaningful experience we can have in this life.
Take a moment to reflect on that statement: Life without love has no meaning.
A well-lived life is blessed by many loves – again, not necessarily romantic love, but love in any and (if you’re especially lucky) all its forms.
So when you have the opportunity to love today – and you will – embrace it. Give freely of your heart, but be careful not to expect anything in return. Love can’t be used as a bargaining chip; anyone who tries to bargain with love destroys love’s purpose.
Whether or not the object of your affections returns your feelings, love’s reward will still come – as long as you know where to look and how to recognize it. It’ll be wrapped inside the ruby haze of sunset or carried in the laughter of a child. It’ll embrace you through a friend or dance with you at a party. It’ll grab your attention with a great book or relax you with a glass of wine next to a warm fire. It’ll cause you to remember a joke someone told years ago, and without warning, make you laugh.
Somehow the world will look brighter not because you got what you wanted, but because you gave someone some your love. Somehow after you’ve trudged through the loss and let go of the confusion, you’ll be warm and calm and maybe even a little satisfied inside. Despite the disappointments you’ve lived through, you’ll find yourself watching a new sunrise and thinking…Wow. I’m ready to love again.
Because the heart never gets smaller; it can only get bigger.
And love never really dies; it only finds new places to go.
That’s the magic we celebrate today.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Stay true to your heart. Don’t be afraid to love.