On loss and Valentine’s Day

I Still Wonder – Patti Cates / Art created by Ian

Tomorrow is February 14 — Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love, your partner, and to do something special. A day that is special for lovers and for those in love. I hope that those in love enjoy the day and the time be together.

This time is so very special and is often taken for granted. My hope and prayer for all those who have a Valentine is to appreciate one another and to be thankful for one another. Also, please celebrate one another on more than just Valentine’s Day. After all, each day together is precious and you never know when one of you will no longer be there.

For those without a spouse, significant other, boyfriend or girlfriend, I hope you know and remember that you are loved and special. Please don’t be depressed about this day but instead do something special for yourself. This can be done by celebrating with your friends and your family. That is what I will be doing.

This year, I am very thankful that Kirk and I didn’t make Valentine’s Day the ultimate in romantic days for us. If we had, it would be an extremely painful day for me. He did not like the idea of just one day to be romantic or to send one another a special card or go out. He also didn’t like how everything costs more on Valentine’s Day than other days.  Neither did I.

We celebrated each other just because. He would give me flowers just because. We would go out to eat at a favorite restaurant just because. We would listen to a special song just because. We did exchange cards and used a few more than once for Valentine’s Day.

We both liked the Love Chapter from the Bible. It was very precious to us and we had it read at our wedding. I asked for it to be read again at Kirk’s memorial service and I cried as it was read. This is what love should be.  We were by no means perfect and did have our issues. But as I have said before, there was always love.

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” — 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.

Some upcoming days will be harder than tomorrow will be for me. These include: the day we met, when he proposed, his birthday, the day we got married, when Ian was born, special summer vacation times, and our holidays with our own traditions. I still miss him each day and cannot believe he is gone. Some days are better than others and others include real pain. I have a feeling it will be that way for a while.

No matter if you have someone special in your life or not, I hope you have a good and Happy Valentine’s Day! Blessings to you and yours.

A few quotes about Valentine’s Day and love:

  • “Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine, Love, thou art every day my Valentine.”
    ~ Thomas Hood
  • “Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.” ~ Author Unknown
  • “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.” ~ Robert Fulghum
  • “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~ Robert Browning
  • “True love stories never have endings.” ~ Richard Bach

Try a Little Kindness

Playground.4When I was growing up, I was taught to be kind to others and to be loving and respectful.  I was taught that differences are okay and that all people have value. My husband and I are now teaching that to our son.  It truly concerns me how far away from that we now are.  Nowadays, so many people seem to think it’s okay to be mean to others and treat them badly.

We have a person running for president of our country who in my opinion is a bully.  He has insulted people of a different race, religion, sex, and views than his own.  Rather than building up others, he tears them down every chance he gets.  He treats others with disdain or worse, outright insults and hateful rhetoric.  The scary thing is that he has quite a few followers who seem to be going along with him.

Is that really what we have become — a nation of hate, skepticism, doubt, racism, sexism, and intolerance?  I sure hope not.  And, I pray not with every fiber of my being. I know we have always had all of these things and probably always will.  But with many civil rights movements over the years, it seemed things had been changing.

I hope we aren’t going backwards.  And, I hope and pray that we have learned from mistakes and travesties that have happened.  There is always more work to be done and I hope that we will continue to do this work.  After all, we do have much in common, despite the differences.

America is an amazing melting pot and my prayer is that it will continue to be just that.

Here are some things I want us to remember:

  • May we continue to teach others how to love.
  • May we forgive and learn from others.
  • May we try a little kindness.
  • May we be helpful to others.
  • May we remember to build one another up, rather than tearing each other down.
  • May we not have a leader who will teach our children that it is okay to be rude and belittle those who you don’t agree with.
  • May we not let hate take over.
  • May we remember that we are more alike than we are different.
  • May we never repeat certain things in our history and truly learn from those who have gone before us.
  • May we have hearts of love and forgiveness.
  • May we have healthy and civil debates.
  • May we stand up for what we believe without insult and harm to others.
  • May we think before we speak.
  • May we teach our children love and kindness, not hate and rudeness.

May we also remember the words from the Love Chapter from the Bible (1st Corinthians 13:4-8).  This is how we should love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

I wonder if we as a people can love like this?  My prayer is that we can and will.

February 14 – Love

POD_3-7-2014_FlyHi and Happy Valentine’s Day.  Today’s Photo Challenge is Love.  How fitting for a day all about love.  My photos are of my two greatest loves — my wonderful husband and our amazing son. These two men mean the world to me and I am so glad to have them as my family.  I love them very differently yet both fully and with all that I am.

So it got me to thinking, how can you illustrate or define love? As you know, there are many types of love and definitions. We love our mates and children differently, we love our families and friends in other ways, we love our pets in a different way, and there is our love of God and our faith.  All of these loves are valid and real to us.

To me love is — given every day, compassion, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, generosity, patience, partnership, unconditional, raw and messy at times, beautiful, passion, being there for the good and bad in life, support, and forever.

There is a line in the movie “Love Story” that has always bothered me.  “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”  I totally disagree.  To me, love means you should say you are sorry.  Not too much that it means nothing, but when needed it should be said.

We all make mistakes and hurt one another.  Yet, because of love we can say we are sorry, change our behavior, and forgive one another.  And then you can move past the problem and continue to love.

One of the best descriptions of love is in 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8. Kirk and I had this read on our wedding day.  It meant the world to both of us.  This is from the New International Version of the Bible:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Isn’t that beautiful?  If only we could love others that way.  We are called by Christ to love others — including our enemies and those who seem the least lovable.  All of us need to be loved by someone.  My hope and prayer is that we can be more loving to those around us.

Today I am thankful for:

  • My husband for loving me as I am and being an amazing partner in all things
  • Our son who is the light of our life and an amazing gift
  • My parents who taught me what love is all about
  • My siblings (and in-laws) who I love to be with and admire so very much
  • My cousins who are true and real friends
  • My in-laws who are a wonderful addition to my family
  • My aunts and uncles who have taught me so much
  • My friends who I treasure — both old and new
  • My grandparents who demonstrated their love for one another
  • My nieces and nephews who enrich my world and are great friends to Ian
  • Our school and church friends who mean so much to the three of and who are teaching Ian so many things
  • Our community and neighbors who make us feel truly at home

May you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of love!  Whether or not you have a special someone, I hope and pray that you will know that you are loved.