I began writing this on Valentine’s Day, and love was in the air. The media was full of ideas on how to proclaim your love to your sweetie, your friends, your family, and significant others. Hearts, flowers, balloon bouquets, chocolates, a getaway, sexy lingerie – all tokens of love.
But really, love is not in the air, is it? The airwaves and newspapers are full stories about people shouting at each other, uttering threats, challenges, curses, and worse. Covid was bad enough, but mostly we pulled together to defeat this enemy we held in common. Now we feel as though we have been sucked into a centrifuge, whirling round and round, with little bits of us flying off in every direction. A box of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers isn’t going to solve this growing vortex of bitterness and anger.
It was my intent, when I began writing the blog, to share the noodlings I’d written in my journal. You see, the resident sweetie doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day per se. He says, “Every day is Valentine’s Day,” and he’s right. I don’t get the hearts and flowers, but I get lots of love, and I have no complaints. But perhaps there are others who do. So I asked myself, “Who needs to hear a loving word today?”
Who needs to hear a loving word today? Those who mourn, those who are lonely, struggling, depressed, worried, hungry, displaced, anxious, grieving: a loving word can make a difference. We don’t necessarily need to say “I love you,” (although, would that be such a bad thing?) but we can say words that show we care.
And those who are doing their best to make this world a better place, they too may need to hear a loving word – those who have good news to share, the ones who brighten our lives and have taught us important lessons, kids who make us smile, the friendly store clerk, the police officer who doesn’t give us a ticket, but just a warning (that hits close to home, doesn't it, sweetie?). Kind, complimentary words can encourage them and inspire.
And could it be that those who are angry, nasty, vindictive, mysoginistic, and racist are the way they are -- twisted and broken -- because they’ve never heard loving words? Could words like "Talk to me, I'll listen" begin to soften their hearts and heal their pain?
We all need to hear loving words, no matter what our circumstances. We are all connected to each other and what does one person good will also do others good.
To work together to make a world
that is more just, beautiful and nurturing takes loving words and deeds.
Are we contributing to that, or standing in the way?
In 1975, Paul Simon wrote “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” ("Just slip out the back, Jack,
Make a new plan, Stan..."). But maybe in this day and age we need a new song: 50 Ways to Say I Love You.
That’s as far as I got in my blog writing, and then I quit. Surely a commitment to use caring words is way too simple, I chided myself. It’s new age woo-woo, an airy-fairy solution to a complex problem. It can’t be that easy.
It isn’t...but it’s not a bad way to start. We have seen, and continue to see every day, that angry words and conspiracy theories can spread their poison very quickly and insidiously. It is “the madness of crowds” – those angry words quickly become dangerous sparks which begin a conflagration.
"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness" says an ancient proverb. It’s better to do something about a problem than just complain about it. A candle is a small answer to a large problem, but it is still a worthy step in the right direction.
Everyday could be Valentine’s Day. Who do you know who needs to hear a loving word today?
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