14
Feb
20

Visions of Love

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” 

John 15:13, NRSV

Valentines DayHAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Welcome to the day set aside on the calendar to celebrate one of history’s epic distortions of reality.

I give you Exhibit A:
SAINT VALENTINE, THE CULTURALLY SANITIZED DISTORTION: He is the pudgy, chocolate-smeared baby flying all over the world shooting arrows of irresistible infatuation into the hearts of men and women. He works a side hustle as a writer for Hallmark Cards where he spends his days penning sappy odes to eros.

And now may I present, Exhibit B:
SAINT VALENTINE, THE REALITY: He was a Roman Catholic priest who was arrested in the year 270 A.D. by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus. He was tortured, drawn, and quartered, and ultimately beheaded for his opposition to the rule of Rome. Today Valentine is known as the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers.

Like a lot of us today, I vote for Version #1… the distortion. If I had my ‘druthers, I’druther equate LOVE with heart-shaped Russell Stover boxes and red roses than with prison and torture.

I mean, who wouldn’t? Warm and fuzzy feels a lot better than cold and painful.

But maybe today could be a time to stop and ask ourselves – just how accurate is that vision of love – over the long haul?

People – people like the lovely Joan and I, for example – are first drawn into relationships by the quickened pulses, the fevered brows, the momentary psychosis, and the euphoric giddiness inflicted by Cupid’s first arrow.

We accept the invitation and dive more deeply into one another’s lives and hearts.

We are fascinated with what we discover about the depth, the humor, the pathos, and the texture of that other person… a person about whom we knew NOTHING until a few days ago. With each new discovery, we continue deeper and deeper on our journey into the deep recesses of The Other.

Then, at some point along the way… maybe days later, maybe years… we find ourselves at a critical cross-road. There is less novelty and more routine. A comfortable familiarity has drifted in. Quirky, adorable character traits begin to grate a little. Moon-eyes give way to morning breath.

And then suddenly, without warning, we meet the moment of sacrifice… a time to give away an item of sacred meaning so that someone else might thrive… a time to willingly embrace loss so that another might gain… a time when the scales of justice tilt wildly away from you and toward the other person.

As we stand at that critical cross-road, we are again offered the vision of the two St. Valentines.

Will it be pudgy Hallmark boy? Or the battered, beheaded priest?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.

(I love you, dearest Joanie. Now and forever).


4 Responses to “Visions of Love”


  1. 1 Warren Molton
    February 14, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    At ninety and ninety-three we asked our lovely caring daughter to select two cards for us, one for lovely Dian and one for me. She did a fab job. As we read our cards to each other, we both shed a few tears as we approach 70 years together on August 12th. The whole story of our journey in search of The One is amazing, and the certainty when we met so satisfying beyond question. So we give thanks as we recall our first Valentine’s Day with a nod and blown kiss to the Hallmark cupid.

    And congrats and blessings to you and Joan —better later than never, I say.

    Warren

  2. February 14, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    There you go getting real again! (Thanks for the reminder, Russ.)

  3. February 18, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    I’m actually NOT a big fan of the pudgy, Hallmark version, but I do appreciate the deep discounts on chocolate the day after Valentine’s Day. And though my hubby and I believe love should be expressed every day of the year (by little things we do and say), we do acknowledge V-day in some way–usually. This year, we both forgot. 😀 I heard another St. Valentine story a long time ago–something about a man and his wife and they had many, many kids. I can’t remember the title or the author.


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