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Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each includes the other, each is enriched by the other. Felix Adler
If you woke up beside your great love, give thanks. If you’ve ever had a great love, give thanks. If we can smile because it happened, even while we cry because it’s over, that’s a step.
Valentine’s day isn’t a happy day for everyone. It punctuates what we may no longer have, may never have had, or recently lost. We are somewhere in the circle of life. A new beginning may be around the corner.
Today is another day where unmet expectations rear their head. It may be better to focus on what we can give, than what someone gives us. Chef Gordon Ramsay says, “If you are going out for a romantic weekend and they offer you the Bridal Suite, don’t take it.” You are just setting yourself up for more unmet expectations and you probably have enough of those to deal with on a “romantic weekend.” Especially if you haven’t decided beforehand what a romantic weekend means to you. Does one of you want to stay in? Does one of you want to go out?
At one time I thought women have more unmet expectations in the romance department than men. I don’t think that anymore. We long for great love affairs, we deserve them, and we are told everyone else gets them. We don’t always see through the laundry, paying the bills, and keeping body and soul together that this is part of “our great love.” We thought it would look different. We grew up in families where real life was lived, yet when it’s our turn we think it will be different.
Love isn’t cards, chocolates, roses, champagne, or nights in fancy hotel suites. Those are tokens of love. Love is looking at each other over your sleeping baby, that kept you up all night. Love is getting to the hospital and having loving arms enfold you. Love is looking up from your bills and realizing they pay for your life, the life you love, the life you’ve provided to give those you love security amid peace and plenty. Love is painting your home and looking at each other’s paint splotched faces and hair, knowing you would do it all again. Love is being in the puddle, trench, or whatever we may call it, facing the same challenges, and seeing their point of view, not just our own. Love is making choices that don’t only put our own interests forward. We make sacrifices for those we love. What hurts them hurts us, what makes them happy, makes us happy. We are part of a team, we become us.
A loving heart is the truest wisdom. Charles Dickens
Love is looking at the stars, and being grateful for someone to share your life with. Love is making plans for the future. Love is in the doing, creating, embracing each other through the fun and funny, the sweet and the bitter, the ups and the downs, the happy and the sad. If we can find romance in the ordinary, enjoy the fleeting moments that add up to a well-lived, well-loved life. Then we too can say we’ve had a great love and may it long continue.
We need to get in the trenches with our beloved. We need to feel what they are feeling, we need to be there for them and know they’ll be there for us. We need to know they won’t be perfect, they won’t get it right every time, and nor will we. We need to love each other through the worst to enjoy our love at its best. Nobody just gets the good times, we are all in, or we aren’t in at all.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
The leader of my writer’s group asked us to write a poem about love.
Living and Loving
Love softly came and called my name.
I gaily laughed, it was a game.
But soon I realized no game I played.
This was a love that came and stayed.
We laughed and loved in our twenties
Lots of love and parties plenty
We said our vows and settled down
Looked about and said, “What now?”
Thoughts of babies came to mind
And soon reality was kind
A little boy came to be
We were overjoyed at being three.
It wasn’t long and we were blessed
A little girl joined our nest.
Our life filled with laughter was complete
It took the patter of tiny feet.
When our daughter was six we got a dog
We felt blessed sleeping like a log.
Work, school, and soccer was our life
Life was full, there was no strife.
Our daughter got married this August past
We hope she has a love that lasts
What happened between then and here?
We were young, now retirements near.
Life sped by in a blink
Forty years go by faster than you’d think
We’ve had a love affair for thirty-eight years
Celebrated with champagne and beers.
We’ve weathered storms
Lived through changing norms.
We pray we’ll have many more years
Filled with laughter and a few tears.
We never know what life has in store.
We are always reaching out for more
Enjoy what you have because you never know
When winter comes and cold winds blow.
You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back. Barbara De Angelis
Rumi: The Big Red Book: The Great Masterpiece Celebrating Mystical Love and Friendship Kindle Edition