A Valentine’s Letter
Most people associate Valentine’s Day with expressions of love and much like Christmas, there’s an understandable aversion to the enforced sentimentality. I use it as a day to express my joy for all that you are, a day that reminds me of how we are deeply connected and inextricably interwoven. Growing up, I was told that Valentine was a prisoner of the Romans, a Christian persecuted for his faith. While in jail, he supposedly sent out letters to his followers encouraging them to continue the work of the spirit. Thus began the first Valentine’s cards. Apparently, that legend no longer has much coin, having been replaced by other stories about multiple Valentines and one whose only card was to a love interest. But along with the stories about Valentine was a reminder that this holiday (as with most in Western culture) originated in a ritual to encourage fertility in women and the land in the coming Spring.
It’s all about encouragement, isn’t it? Encouragement so that what is precious can grow and nourish. And as I sat wondering how to write to you about all the wonders I see in you, I realized that the source of encouragement is an openness to joy for all that you manifest day by day. When you wake up and face the morning, I am taken by the strength you show in letting go of the mists of forgetfulness. As you negotiate through the day seeking a path that will be the best possible for whoever is in front of you, behind you, all around you, I am delighted by your diligence. Each time you share your deepest self in your writing, your drawing, your touch, your single word of comfort, I am electric with amazement to be one of the recipient of your gifts. When you lay your head down to surrender to the letting go at day’s end, I am humbled by your courage in being so ultimately vulnerable.
And yet, and yet I know you struggle too. Finding that moment’s spark to step into the day, to do what is asked, to discern what is not. I hear your voice tight and controlled, trying and trying to convey thought without judgment. You move cautiously through the maze of relationships wrestling with uncertainty. In that space between in- and out-breath, I see you find release. And my heart swells with joy as you smile quietly as you know you can step into the next moment totally.
This is love which is a resonating joy. It echoes back and forth, careening off the walls in our life, amplifying and dampening along the edges and creases of our sorrows and soothings. It is one of the chambers in the heart which fills roaring, rapid, and resonant.