Love is More Than Candy Hearts

Earlier in the week, it was parties and conversation hearts. Heart-shaped cookies and treats for teachers. Our day began with heart-shaped pancakes, homemade cards. We will open a nice bottle later today. Perhaps a Barberesco (stay tuned). That is enough for us. It is our 15th Valentine’s Day together. Our love has changed, our family has grown, our focus has shifted.

 For many adults, this Hallmark holiday is dreaded. Years of disappointment, undue pressures, and over-priced flowers have thrown our cynicism into overdrive. I get it.

Unfortunately, these exercises in overblown commercial holidays have a dark side. Despite our best efforts to keep things in perspective, despite our understanding that it is one day and  it doesn’t really matter, it leaves many feeling empty.

Let’s talk about love.

First, let’s address what love is NOT.

Love is not rushing out last-minute to appease someone with a quick grab in the card aisle.

Love is not wrapped.

Love is not purchased.

Love is not found in a box of chocolates or the right color flowers.

Love is not an empty grope or moment of passion.

Love is not controlling or obsessive.

Love does not solve all of your problems.

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us that “love is not jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when I has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Ouch. I have a long way to go.

So what is love? Well, that depends which definition you are referring to. The Greek had four words for love. These definitions are loose and quick summaries in my own words. Obviously there is more to it than this.

Eros- swooning, passionate, romantic, sensual.

Phileo- friendship, based on common interests, beliefs, respect, companionship

Storge-familial, parental

Agape- unconditional, all-encompassing, pure, the love of God for mankind, already yours

Each aspect of love can be a potential source for healing, each can be a source of pain.

Perhaps you are longing for a partner to do life with, perhaps you are longing for your partner to change.

You may be missing a dear friend or in conflict with one.

You may have run from your family, the dynamics too painful. You may be longing for a family of your own or relief from the one you have.

You may have been scarred by errant teachings, judgment from a church.

Regardless of where you are, your relationship status, why not use today to go beyond the commercial definitions and show love to others and, in doing so, experience love for yourself?

Invite friends to dinner.

Bring muffins to someone in need.

Write a note to someone you appreciate.

Forgive someone.

Forgive yourself.

Paul used two words to describe what love is: Patient and kind.

Love is listening to a friend in crisis.

Love is serving with no expectations.

Love is taking a moment to ask about someone’s day.

Can you give those gifts to others today? Can you give them to yourself?

And know that no matter how lonely today may make you feel, love is available. In giving it, we receive. You are seen. You are loved. You are enough.

Wishing you a day filled with gifts that cannot be purchased. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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