No one ever confused me for any of the world’s great thinkers. I’m definitely not a Plato or a Plutarch, certainly not an Aristotle or an Aquinas. As we approach Valentine’s Day, it occurred to me that I ought to try to pen, er keystroke, a piece about love.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a source I trust far more than Wikipedeia, Valentine’s Day is a successor to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. The festival marked the coming of spring, the pairing off of women with men by lottery, though it didn’t come to be celebrated as a day of romance until some time around the 14th century.
I can remember, as a child, passing out those tiny Valentine cards to everyone, boy and girl, in my second grade classroom at Pine Spring Elementary School.
If you were really lucky, a friend would pass you a box of those little Brach’s candy hearts. As you got older, that little box of hearts became a box of Russell Stover or Whitman’s chocolates.
Of course flowers are symbolic of Valentine’s Day and an economic boon for florists at this time of year. But, of course, you can’t buy love. Love is completely spontaneous, never planned. It just happens.
In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth he writes in Chapter 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Does anyone else find it ironic that he writes of love in verse 13 of Chapter 13? The number 13 is supposedly an unlucky number, though I rather doubt Paul was a superstitious person.
Unlucky in love, how many of you can stake a claim to that?
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
I think it was the fall of 1984 when the group Foreigner released their album “Agent Provocateur.” The first single was titled “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
Some of the lyrics go like:
“In my life, there’s been heartache and pain,
I don’t know if I can face it again.”
Another somewhat more modern philosopher, Maxime Lagace, wrote, “To love is risky, not to love is foolish.”
I think Tennyson and Lagace pretty well sum up what’s involved with love.
Here’s my take on love.
Love means caring so much about someone else that you would sacrifice self to show that special person how much you care for them. I think if you really love someone, you don’t have to express it with tiny candy hearts, boxes of chocolate or red roses (I prefer tulips by the way).
If you really love someone, I think they know it without a doubt, without you having to spend a nickel on them, though that tangible box of chocolate or flowers I suspect are nice and certainly appreciated.
Love is different from like or lust. There are a whole lot of people I like, but I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to do something extra special for them. Lust, in my way of thinking, is somewhat animalistic.
Obviously love is expressed physically from time to time. Our population didn’t get to 300 million-plus by liking one another. Love, though, is a much deeper, abiding emotion. I feel pretty confident that at least a few of those 300 million-plus didn’t get here as a result of “real” love.
Real love is unconditional. Someone you love can, and often will, make you mad — but you still love them.
Love is wanting to be with that person all the time, through thick and thin, during ups and downs. Love is something you want to share, it’s something you freely give to someone. Love is something you don’t have to explain. It just is.
Back in 1969, a really special year by the way, the group Mercy had a song called “Love Can Make You Happy.”
“Love can make you happy if you find someone who cares
To give a lifetime to you and who has a love to share”
I think real love is all about sharing.
It’s doing something for someone, or with someone, all the time, not just one day during the year. Sending flowers or candy on Valentine’s Day is expected by some. One ought not need the celebration to show someone that they are important to you.
When you love someone you do the unexpected for that person, and you do it often. There is no doubt involved.
Canadian Bryan Adams wrote a song called “When You Love Someone.”
His lyrics went like:
“When you love someone
You’ll do anything
You’ll do all the crazy things
That you can’t explain”
Deep-thinker Doug really likes that last line. Like I said before, love is not something you can explain. It just happens. Rarely it happens in an instant. More often it is something that you grow into. It doesn’t really require an explanation.
Another noted author, Erich Segal, in his wonderful book-turned movie, “Love Story,” included the line “Love means not ever having to say you’re sorry.” It was a great book and an even greater movie, but the line is wrong.
We all make mistakes, say stupid things and stuff like that. A heartfelt “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward repairing the hurt that is often felt when you’ve hurt someone you love.
And that will happen.
I hope you have a joyful Valentine’s Day with someone you love Sunday.