Here’s the thing to know about love. Sometimes it feels great, like a sunny day in the Northwest after 26 days of rain; but sometimes it feels like the early stages of flu- unsettled, achy, and a loss of appetite. Okay, well maybe not as bad as the flu, but love lives can be irritating, like an insect bite that keeps itching. This is good to know about love because it allows you to have reasonable expectations, that love will not fix you or your life- it will keep you interested in life and if it is good, keep you honest and trying to be yourself.
I bring all this up because it is Valentine’s Day, the day we set aside once a year to honor and express our love. This is a good time to assess what are reasonable expectations of such a holiday. It is a good time to recognize and acknowledge what you love about love and about your lover…It is also a good time to realize that even the best Valentine in the world cannot fill in the space of not communicating or appreciating in the day to day of life. So be reasonable.
I spent many years waiting for just the right gift, or the right words on the right card to show me how much my husband appreciated and loved me. I believed then, that single moments or holidays done right could heal the long standing differences between us. The years that worked the best, were the one’s where we were already on solid and intimate ground. The years when we were estranged or exhausted, Valentine’s day served only to illuminate our distance. The good ones and the bad ones both taught me about reasonable expectations in relationships and for Valentines Day.
If time has brought us any wisdom worthy of passing on, it is this: That we try to celebrate our love as if it were Valentines Day, as often as our busy life will allow. It stabilizes and anchors all the rest of our life and brings meaning to the mundane. We are no longer surprised that our love life, even with regular attention, is still sometimes like the sun after a long rain spell, or like the early stages of flu. Knowing this has taught us to focus on the small things and to stop looking for the big epiphany. It has taught us to stop and witness what makes each other uniquely us.
So here is my great idea for Valentines Day that won’t cost anything more than your attention. Think of the two or three things that really makes the world special for you and your partner and bear witness to them in a short poem. It doesn’t have to be really poetic, it just has to reflect what you both love. Here are a few examples that work for my guy- who loves great food, fires of all kinds, and astrophysics.
“If I could give you what mattered most…
I would give you the smell of all the wildflowers
the fresh savory sweet salty flavor of all your favorite foods
the crackle of wood burning under a starlit sky,
the mystery and science of the stars themselves….”
Here’s wishing you a Valentine’s Day with less expectations and more love….
and today I would add- even if Valentines Day was a bust, it is still worth striving for an every day Valentine. It is a reasonable way to live.