Nearly 20 years ago on the 1st Valentine’s Day after Chris’s death I admitted to a little self-indulgence. I wrote in MARFAM’s magazine “Chris is still my Valentine” and published a photo of us taken at our daughter’s wedding a few months earlier. A short article “Love Changes Everything” described how it is possible for love to change one’s life, one’s behavior, outlook and mind-set. Love makes us more generous, more outgoing, more radiant or handsome as it changes the beholder as well as the beholded. Then naturally over time it changes as the rose-coloured glasses fall off and the frog hops forth from the prince’s pants. The trick then is for love to practice its art and learn to really love the frog and not only make him turn back into a prince but make him into a king, or her into a queen. The beauty of romance isn’t only a passing illusion but a genuine gift for relationship, a stage in the relationship built mostly on feeling good. You make me feel good and I make you feel good and we are wonderful together. Unfortunately it is the feelings that are fleeting and will change. Feeling disillusioned is as spontaneous a reaction as feeling romantic. Romance is to be cherished and more conscious decisions to accept each other with our gifts and hang-ups, strengths and weaknesses can build a deeper joy.
All this is not confined to the young. Middle-aged and older people can fall in love and feel romantic but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be romantic in our 9, 19, 29 or 49 year old relationship. Buy a gift no matter how little, light a candle and don’t curse the darkness. No matter how dark the clouds may be there is a charm and warmth, a ray of light about celebrating love in all its changing phases. And if your loved one has passed on or moved on is it not possible, in spite of the pain that accompanies love too, to give thanks for the love you had, so that it may continue to change you because “Love, love changes everything, and nothing in the world will ever be the same.” From ASPECTS OF LOVE A Lloyd Webber.
I hope and pray that these thoughts can resonate with everyone who was present at Mass in the Church of the Resurrection in Bryanston on Sunday when we celebrated World Marriage Day. The Church was packed with parishioners of all ages who were asked to renew their baptismal commitment in support of the sacrament of marriage and of the couples who came forward to renew their vows. There were some youngish couples, some middle-aged and older and some people even came alone to profess their commitment to a spouse not able to be there. Others were sad or angry at a loss or a break-down and still others, teenagers, maybe hungry for love.
Can it not be true that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? What depth there is to the statement, “If you have experienced love you have experienced God.” Isn’t that the real message of Valentine’s Day, whether he was real or not? Irrespective, who will be your Valentine? TR FAMILY WEEKLY 13 FEBRUARY 2019
PS Is it not ironic that the week 11-18 February should be TEENAGE SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK. Are our young people experiencing the love they deserve?