Cupid, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and other tales of romance go beyond telling of our desire for a relationship to reflect spiritual longings for love. To me these stories tell of our yearning to connect with the spiritual side of ourselves. Valentine's Day also speaks to spiritual love.
In the United Kingdom, Valentine's Day has become so commercialized. It could be a sad time for those who either have no partners or have partners who are not romantically inclined. I say romantically inclined because I used to dread the million red roses I saw everywhere. My husband is anything but romantic. Kind, loving, gentle, meek, and mild, yes, but romantic, no. It never bothered me much until a new family moved across the road from us.
One Valentine's Day I saw out our kitchen window the biggest bunch of red roses on our neighbor's doorstep. She was away, and the delivery boy had left the roses outside. The bouquet was covered with luscious red ribbons flapping in the wind. It announced to the world her husband's love for her. I sighed, thinking, "I'll be lucky if I get a bunch of dead dandelions, never mind roses!"
True enough, when my husband walked in cheerily from work, full of joy and oblivious to what day it was, I just gave a huge sigh.
"What's the matter?" he asked. I told him about the huge bunch of roses on my neighbor's doorstep. He said in utter amazement, "Roses! What do you want roses for? You know I love you." And that was that.
It's funny how we gauge love. You could be in the most fantastically loving relationship and still be lonely. When someone first told me about Mary Baker Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," I read, "God is Love.... Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?" (pg. 2) I thought, "What am I not accepting as love in my life? Where am I missing my connection with God's love?"
Love has always been vitally important in my life. I am by nature a warm and affectionate person. I had loads of friends. But that wasn't enough. I longed to be loved and cherished, to have love showered on me with all the trimmings - red roses, the lot. Where would I begin to find love within myself?
I sat and listened for some days, meditating and praying. I discovered where I had missed my connection. It was a shock to discover that although I had adored God all my life, I had never felt an intimate relationship with Him. I felt a deficiency in my relationship with God, and, as a result, I felt deficient in my relationship with others. My personal relationship with God was lacking.
God was there to meet my spiritual loneliness through meaningful times of prayer. He does not leave us alone. He has promised, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5).
From here a whole new world opened up. I discovered Love is the strength that gives me life. When I received love from my intimate relationship with God, I lost fear. I was able to give the best in me without expecting a return of anything. I realized the practical form of love is respect.
Respect is acceptance of the fact that we are all different and individual. At the same time, we all have something important and valuable to share.
I suddenly saw how much my husband loved me. He worked very hard so that the children and I could have a happy life. The love he gave was not accompanied with pomp and ceremony; he just gave his all to us in quiet and gentle ways. Everything I looked at was what he had provided by working all hours for our comfort. How could I have been so blind to all this abundant love? He gave me a Valentine gift every second of his life. My heart had so hardened on a self-centered love that I had missed what I had all around me in such abundance.
For the first time in my life, I saw how thoughts guide our destiny. And keeping my thoughts on the right track starts with my relationship with God.
To be content is a choice, not a chore. The fruit of contentment is happiness. Today I use Valentine's Day to recommit to my own spiritual values and to share meaningful and heartfelt appreciation to all the important people in my life.
Though I speak
with the tongues of men
and of angels, and have not charity, I am become
as sounding brass,
or a tinkling cymbal....
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I Corinthians 13:1, 13