Thursday, February 14, 2013
Today is Valentine’s Day in the US, a day of celebration for companies that make candy, jewelry, cards, and anything shaped like a heart.
It’s a day of pressure to be romantic for those involved in relationships, and a day of disappointment for some who are not.
It has got me thinking about love, not just romantic love, all kinds of love. For example, when my foster daughter joined our family, there was something beautiful in her spirit that I could see had been nurtured in spite of her difficult childhood. I told her that someone must have loved her very much and asked her if she knew who that was. Without hesitation, she answered that it was her Grammy.
All of us are loved now or have been loved at some time, I think, deeply. Whatever else you might be doing with this day, I thought it could be a great day to celebrate someone who loves us, or who loved us in the past.
I’ll start by celebrating Ernie, a dog we had for a brief time when I was a little girl. Ernie was a small dog, but like many small dogs, he thought he was very big. And he loved me with fierce devotion. Too fierce, unfortunately. Although he was a family dog, he singled me out for his exclusive affection...and protection.
Once when we were at a nearby lake for a weekend of recreation, we took off for a boat ride. Ernie was left behind at the cabin, but just as we pulled away from the dock he raced down the ramp and started barking, alarmed at seeing me out of reach. Confident that others at the cabin would retrieve him, we continued on our way, but I looked back just in time to see my tiny knight, who hated water, hurl himself into the lake and start paddling in our wake, determined to save me. I had a frantic fit until the boat was turned around and we went back to fish him out of the water. I held him shivering in my lap for the rest of the ride.
Another time, I was standing in the kitchen talking with my sister. Ernie was jumping and yipping for my attention, but I was ignoring him in favor of the conversation. Then he got quiet. A moment later, my sister looked down and wailed, “He peed on me!” Sure enough, her ankle and foot were soaked.
As you can guess, Ernie did not ingratiate himself with the rest of the family like he did with me. The final straw was when he started biting anyone who came near me. Ernie’s time with our family came to an end. Nobody missed him but me, but I missed him mightily. His devotion might have been expressed in unacceptable ways, but he made me feel special. As a child who was sometimes desperate for friends, I could count on him. I knew without question that he had my back, and I felt safe in his company.
Will you share with us someone whose love fills or filled your spirit – a family member, partner, pet, diety, friend, anyone?
As a Valentine bonus, here is a short video of one of my favorite love stories, about Christian the lion. This true story is well known, and perhaps you have run across it on my blog or elsewhere, but watch it again, or for the first time, and marvel at the power of love.