Today is, if I have scheduled these post correctly, not just the fortieth day in the season known as Epiphany, it is also Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is, in many locations on and off this planet, the day for celebrating love. Love truly is a verb although we tend to think of it only as a noun. During this series we are discussing verbs and the actions they represent, actions that might make our lives a bit better. On this day is there a better time to remember that love is a verb, something we can do and just hope to receive? Can living better really be as simple as loving better? After all, as one 1960’s popular song advised, “all you need is love.”
The man who would become known as Saint Valentine, in whose honor gifts and cards are given on this day in the name of love, is considered a third century Saint and yet, his Saint Day does not appear on the Roman Catholic’s Church’s General Calendar and when this Saint Day was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I the man known as Saint Valentine was among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”
Historians now believe there were actually three Valentines. Being a common name which meant powerful, one of these men named Valentine was a Roman priest, another the bishop of Interamna now known as modern Terni in Italy. Both are buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city. The third is said to be a saint who suffered on the same day with a number of companions in the Roman province of Africa, and nothing else is known of his life.
Love seems to be just as elusive and illusionary as the holiday. While the day celebrates our love for each other, we first must love ourselves before sharing love. In order to do that, we need to go back a couple of days to the blog post entitled “Befriend” and become our own best friend. We all have that voice of conscious in our heads and that voice can be a positive thing at times. However, friends not only remind you when you stray off your chosen path, they also build you up and our inner voice needs to that friend as well.
Environment should not be overlooked. “Location, location, location” is a popular phrase in real estate but it is true for our own self-love as well. We need positive people in our lives, not depressed, envious people who only destroy any sense of positive self-love we might possess. We need to walk through supportive friends in our daily living, friends that will help us formulate and then build our vision for the rest of our lives. This is the only way to make our dreams become a reality.
We need to live authentically and truly live what we are inside. This means developing a plan and then following it to achieve our dreams. It also means giving ourselves time and space to accomplish those goals and dreams. Declutter your life and clean up your life – throw away the baggage from the past to make room for the future. Making our bodies and our home space a priority is actually a luxury but even in dire circumstances, it can happen. A refugee camp showed people living in tents made from discarded clothing. In one such tent some string had been strung with metal bottle caps hanging. Even in this environment of misery and uncertainty, the breeze would turn this string and metal trash into a wind chime, a respite for all within hearing distance.
The human spirit should be celebrated every day but on this day in which we take time to share love, remember to love your own self. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Martin Luther King was speaking not only to the crowd before him but to each individual about their own life.
I wish love to you all, both for another person but also of yourself. Educator Dr. William Purkey gave us the best lesson plan for doing this: “You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching. Love like you’ll never be hurt. Sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”