Sunday, February 14, 2010

oh, valentine.

I'm on a mission. Let me tell you why. Valentine's Day.

See, here's the thing. It's not just about romantic love. No, really. I swear. It isn't.

It breaks my heart when Valentine's Day rolls around and I hear so many people say how much they hate the holiday, how they think it's stupid or they feel left out because they don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/partner.

Last time I checked, "love" doesn't only mean "romantic". But lemme grab my OED and double check.

Yup. There's more than one definition. It means more than "romantic". Phew!

Have you ever really thought about love? What it really means? Think about your best friend. Or your parents. Or even your pet. That connection. That desire to be with that person or animal, that wish to protect them, to share with them, to provide for them. That hope that their comfort and happiness comes before your own.

That's love.

No smooching, no sex, no making out. (With your dog? Eeeeew!!!)

And it's still love.

At Mass one day several months ago, my priest gave a homily about love. And one of the things I'll never forget him saying was that love--true, deep, real love--is sacrificial. Not I'm-gonna-cut-off-my-left-leg-and-offer-it-as-a-sacrifice, or I'm-gonna-go-ahead-and-run-a-dagger-through-my-jugular-to-show-you-how-serious-I-am-about-my-love-for-you. No. Sacrificial in the sense that you're willing to give up your own comfort or desires in order to make sure the person (or animal) that you love has theirs.

We've all done that at some point. And, therefore, we've all loved. And that should be celebrated, don't you think?

Thus, Valentine's Day. Do you know the story about St. Valentine? He was dude who helped Christians during a time when it was against the law to do so, when they were totally persecuted against. He helped them. He showed them love. He made sure their comforts were taken care of first. And the result? He was stoned and beaten and basically had the crap kicked out of him.

And sometimes, when we love someone, we feel like that happens to us. Love is hard. It can be utterly painful. It can totally. kick. our. asses. We've sacrificed. But the end result is pretty awesome. Someone else, someone outside of ourselves, experienced peace, their needs met, joy, comfort. And we helped. That's pretty kick-ass.

A couple of years ago, a friend and colleague of mine wrote and presented a scholarly paper on the power that love has to transform our culture. A scholarly paper, people. With research. And other forms of brilliance. How cool is that? She referenced Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in it many, many times. It was inspirational.

Can you imagine what this world would look like if we acted like St. Valentine? If we put others before ourselves? If we knew that the greatest gift of all was love?

My mission? To remind people that love isn't just about kissing, sex, and being romantic. Love is literally the thing that can change the world. No, really. It can. I've seen it.

On this Valentine's Day, I hope that you will turn to your neighbor, to your friend, to your parents, to your pet, to a total stranger, and show them love. In some capacity. And celebrate that moment. Celebrate that. Love moves us towards peace. And isn't that what we all want?

with love (oh, yes!!) from Pittsburgh,

{Image? From here.}

4 lovely bits o' feedback.:

Duel Living said...

I'm glad that we became blog friends...your words always give me a reason to try and be better than who I am. It whispers in my can do it!

Happy day...I LOVE your blog!

alissa said...

fabulous message - we've managed to make this day into something it wasnt supposed to be!

Angie Muresan said...

Laura, this is such a beautiful message. I hope you had a love filled Valentine's day.

krista said...

look at you spreading love all over.
that doesn't sound right, does it?