Musings About Valentine Day
A few months ago a friend went for a walk and noticed a young woman nearby. She was wearing a jacket partially open in the front. It revealed a shirt with the word “ego” on it. My friend was intrigued by someone having this word on her shirt, so she asked the young woman what led her to display that term. The young woman laughed, opened her jacket wider and there was the full word: “Oregon.” And isn’t that how it is with our “seeing” of one another? I think of the people I’ve known for a long time and love a lot. It’s tempting to think that I “know” them, but there is no way I can perceive the full story that lives within their deeper selves.
Kathy Coffey writes in her January blog: Whenever I study C.G. Jung, he conveys a sense of humans containing so many worlds beyond the conscious—indeed, vast seas within. We are creatures of time and eternity, psyche and matter, conscious and unconscious, this and more… We all contain another huge world: encounters with the divine, the messages of dreams, the collective unconscious, a door to the deceased, or what Catholics term “the communion of saints.”
February invites us to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I approach it as a time to observe and affirm the relationships that influence our lives in constructive and satisfying ways. These lovers, friends, relatives, and colleagues enrich us with their acceptance, guidance, and valuable encouragement. They keep self-confidence alive in us and energize our mental and emotional space.
I hope to approach Valentine’s Day not only as an opportunity to express my gratitude for the people I’m fond of but also as a time to rejoice in how their beings are wonderfully full of mystery. I remember, too, that I glimpse so little about my own self and the vast storehouse hidden inside. Thus, I renew my intention to not corral those I love into a box of assumed perceptions. This leads me to increase my awe of everyone, not just the special folks of my inner circle, but to be curious and respectful of the many and varied layers that texture each and every human being.
There are all sorts of emojis for love. Most of these have some form of a heart. Did you ever wonder how the heart became the symbol for love? Search the Internet and you’ll find various responses to this question. Personally, I think this symbol for love mirrors what our human heart does for us. Its steady heartbeat of blood flowing in and out of the ventricles confirms the necessary pattern of giving and receiving love, a pattern inherent in any healthy relationship. Our fleshy heart allows blood to flow through it, nourishing our bodily cells. So, too, with our growthful encounters of one another. And just as our physical heartbeat can get out of sync by beating too fast or too slow, our loving relationships sometimes get out of rhythm and require attentive adjustment.
If our loves are few, we do not begrudge those with many. If our loves have departed from us in physical form, we cherish the time we had with them. If our loves are bountiful, we humbly count ourselves wealthy in spirit. We do not gorge ourselves on this prosperity with self-congratulation. Instead, we allow these relationships to propel, expand, and strengthen our ability to be there for persons who are lonely, despondent, and exiled from hope.
May the inspiring chant of Karen Drucker’s If Love Is Why I’m Here be ours this Valentine’s Day:
If love is why I’m here, let me be an open channel.
If love is why I’m here, let me give and then receive.
Abundant peace (and love),
Opening the Heart to Love
(From Prayer Seeds, Joyce Rupp)
Meditation Based on 1Cor13:4-8
In the quiet repose of your mind and heart, repeat each of the following statements to yourself. Pause after each statement. Repeat it five times. Pause again. Then move on to the next statement.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way.
Love is not irritable or resentful.
Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.
Love rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things.
Love never ends.
Open our hearts to you, Source of All Souls,
you whose love dwells within and among us.
Open us to believe how fully we are welcomed by you
each moment of our lives.
Open us to carry our union with you
to those who are a part of our daily encounters.
Open us when we are weary, when we resist,
when we forget, when we doubt, when we are anxious.
Open our hearts with full confidence,
trusting we have more than enough love to give away.
Open, open, open us to the journey of love that is ours.