Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love Day

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays.
Not because of cards or candy or gifts or flowers.
But because it is a day set aside to celebrate love.
I often say "Happy Love Day" on February 14th.
For me, that's what it is.
A day to celebrate the gift of love.
The love of family and friends.
The love of partners, past and present.

Love is truly a many-splendored thing.
Love sparkles on celebration days - with hugs and kisses and stories of Love Days past.
We spent time today recalling some of the joyful, romantic, laughter-filled moments we have shared.
We talked about places we have lived together and why we were so happy in each one.
But we also acknowledged that we haven't always been happy.
We haven't always sparkled together.

In the aftermath of those days when "sparkling" doesn't happen, I have seen and experienced how
Love has smoothed over some of the rough edges in me - and in our relationship.
You know, the edges that sting and slice.
The edges of sarcasm and anger.
The edges of fear and loathing.
They are all there - at least they are in me.
But when I remember what drew us together, what keeps us together,
what draws us back together after we have allowed apathy and laziness to drive
us away from each other - when I look over at this man I've been with for 29 years now -
(On this night, Valentine's Day, 1987, Steve and I graduated from "just hanging out together" to "being a couple.")
Love coaxes me to file down the sharp claws that I have honed to a point in my mind.

Love tenderizes my tough heart too.
When I put on the full armor, not of God, but of self-preservation,
when I pull the blanket of relationship resignation over my weary head,
when I fantasize about the life I will create for myself when I abandon my current situation -
full-fledged journaling sessions planning how I will empty our bank accounts,
pack my backpack, head for the airport, buy a first class one ticket on a credit card,
and then ditch the card so I cannot be tracked down
(I have watched a lot of Law and Order, NCIS, and Criminal Minds
so I know how that sort of thing works!)
deciding where I will live in Madrid and how I will earn a self-sustaining income -
when I come to the end of those free writing exercises, I laugh at my vivid imagination.
By the time I pour it all out on paper, I remember: I love these people I live with.
I love my life. I love LOVE.
It's not always easy to love them or to love myself.
It's not usually easy.
Truthfully, it's never easy.

When I am reminded of my helplessness in drumming up love on my own,
when I am reminded of my willful and willing participation in angst production,
when I am reminded of how difficult I am to love and to live with,
that's when I fall on my knees, literally get down on my knees,
and plead with LOVE to give me love.
I ask for grace. I ask for strength. I ask for mercy.
Then I ask for a second helping of grace, strength, mercy, and love
to pour out on those with whom I travel on this, my life's journey.

I pray the morning prayer from Robert Benson's Daily Office Prayer book.
"We offer prayers for all those with whom we share the Journey:
those who have been given to us and to whom we have been given,
those to whom we promised our faithfulness and prayers.
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
We entrust all who are dear to us to Your never-failing love and care,
for this life and for the life to come, knowing that You will do for them 
far more than we can desire or pray for."
(I couldn't find a link to the book I have,
but here is another book of prayers that he has edited and written.)

Today, on Love Day, I pray that prayer for you too.
Because you who have found your way to this page,
you who subject yourself to my ramblings,
you are someone with whom I share the Journey.

You may not feel loved today.
You may feel actively unloved today.

I want you to know that I offer that prayer for you,
entrusting you into the hands of The One who truly loves you most,
The One for whom every day is, in essence, Love Day.

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