Preparing for Valentine’s Day by Offering Authentic Love

by Rod Smith

‘There are two potential tragedies in life and dying isn’t one of them,” wrote Ronald Rolheiser, the Catholic theologian. “What’s tragic is to go through life without loving and without expressing love and affection toward those whom we do love.”

What great thoughts to ponder and then motivate us to action beyond romance on, and before, Valentine’s Day.

Let’s not fall victim to either of the tragedies — not today, tomorrow, not forever.

One of the great things about life for most of us is that we get more than a few chances at most things, even things we fouled up in the past. Failing at love yesterday doesn’t mean we have to fail again.

While the holiday is Hallmark-driven and its history buried in 5th century Rome, it’s up to us to push love to the limits, to go beyond Valentine, beyond Hallmark, beyond Cupid, beyond Eros, red balloons and red sweaters and candy. It’s up to us to take Rolheiser’s caution to heart.

Let’s express love in tangible ways to all those whom we love.

Loving is more than breakfast in bed. Say what you want to say without leaving it to another day. Don’t wait, don’t avoid it, and don’t run from it. Act upon the love you feel in measurable ways, express it in ways that are new and unique for you.

Love your family by encouraging the expression of the unique voice of every person. Enlarge their freedom; oust jealousy.

Listen, and wait to speak. Try to hear even the things you’d rather not hear. Learn things about members of your family even if it has been so long that it is hard to remember a time when you did not share life.

Loving people celebrate strength, encourage freedom and admire the talent of others.

Then, in loving and being loved, compromise yourself, your talents and skills for no one.

True love will never steal your voice, your brain, your heart or your body.

Minimizing who you are in the name of love will not make you more lovable or make your family a happier or healthier place. It is never worth it. It is never loving. It is those with dark motives, who seek for you to be less, minimized, diminished or silenced. Reject such small-mindedness, such evil, even if doing so is very costly.

In your loving, deal a deadly blow to love’s bitter enemies of resentment, anger and bitterness. These close cousins, if permitted, will hold hands within your psychology and dance a woeful dance. They will make you blind to all things beautiful. Angry, bitter and resentful people, no matter what their justification, become increasingly unreasonable and difficult to live with.

Bitterness will have a soul for breakfast. It’ll chew you up, spit you out, and then get you some more. That’s its nature. It has no regard for you, except in your destruction.

Make the most powerful decision a person can make and forgive everyone, everything. Forgiving others completely for everything real or imagined done against you, will give you a degree of personal liberation heretofore unknown. Such forgiveness, offered from and within our human frailty, releases the spirit beyond comprehension.

When people forgive each other, they wear divine clothing, and the prison doors of their own hearts become unlocked and the miserable trio of anger, bitterness and resentment are set free to do their work elsewhere.

3 Comments to “Preparing for Valentine’s Day by Offering Authentic Love”

  1. “True love will never steal your voice, your brain, your heart or your body.”

    And when it does, it leaves you broken and empty-hearted. I know the feeling of having my brain “turned off” because of an empty “love.” It is exhilarating to be free from that feeling and be able to think once again!

    I love reading your blogs! They are very thought-provoking. Thank you.

  2. Linda – I am so glad. Please spread teh word to others about my blog. Th column is very popular in South Africa. It is very difficult to get into a USA newspaper. I had a different kind of column in The Indianapolis Star for several years but for many reasons I just couldn’t do it every week. Thanks for your feedback. It stimulates my thinking to know you are reading. Rod Smith

  3. Rod, I left a message with Gideon, asking him to call you. His cell is: 808-960-9185. I am glad we spoke. Jim

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