This week, we remember Valentine’s Day, the day when the whole world takes time to celebrate matters of the heart. All across America and around the globe, millions of people will spend billions of dollars, and other currencies, all in the name of love. On V-day, multitudes make B-lines to local florists, card and candy shops, and restaurants, as we are reminded that love is not just a battlefield, but also the banker’s delight.
More books are written and more songs are sung about love than any other theme in the world because every person on the face of the planet longs to be loved. Love makes our lives more enjoyable, but also makes our hearts more vulnerable. Love makes hearts smile and souls suffer; it builds families and breaks hearts; it fulfills dreams and causes nightmares. We can’t live without it and we struggle to live with it. Love is truly what makes the world go round and turns our lives upside down. All of these facts make Valentine’s Day the most loved and hated holiday of the year.
Everything that is worth anything will cost us something, and true love will cost us all that we have. Love is a risky endeavor, but it is well worth the investment of a lifetime. Unfortunately, for every beautiful love story we see, there are many others that are not to be. For many, what begins with great expectation, ends with total devastation. Not every romance has a happy ending. The healing of hearts takes time, and for some, scars become calluses that keep them from feeling deep love again.
The fact of the matter is that love can be a dangerous proposition. Very few ever make it through the minefield of relationships unscathed, but without relationships and love, we really never live. Love is the most powerful force on the planet. It can make us feel more alive than we’ve ever felt before. It can also make us feel like we want to give up on life and die, just to stop the pain inside our souls. To ignore the pain, many try mind over matter – mind over matters of the heart. Although this may alleviate the pain, it also eliminates wonderful things in our lives, like compassion, sensitivity, empathy, and intimacy. In reality, giving up on love is giving up on life, and there is much more lost than gained.
Truly great men and women never have more mind than heart, because people who live from their minds tend to be detached from life. Things don’t seem to touch them very much or very deeply, and they remain unavailable and detached. They hold other people at a distance, and may feel cold or dead inside, with little to strive for and little love to give. To truly make a life, we need to truly love … at all costs. The cost is great and the stakes are high, but the rewards are worth it and the return on investment is out of this world!
Far too often, in the sphere of love, we can become quite narcissistic - focused on what makes us feel acceptable and lovable to someone; obsessed with an individual and depressed if our love is unrequited. True love is never really about us ... it's about someone else and what we can do for them, even if they never respond in gratitude. Real love sees the needs that others have and reaches out to meet those needs. Today, when we are spending our billions on showy displays of affection, let us also remember to take some time for reflection that leads to correction ... to be moved by love to right some wrongs on our planet. If we all really loved others in our worldwide community, there wouldn't be 1.6 billion children at risk and 28 million slaves ... there couldn't be in a world filled with love. All of the slaves and children at risk in our world really matter. Maybe it's time we let love move us to action ... individually and collectively, until everyone in our world is free. In the end, it's matters of the heart that matter the most.