It is that day again, the day the wise-cracking cynic in me likes to call VD Day. It’s Saint Valentine’s Day and the cyber tubes have come alive with the mating calls of a myriad of moping millennials tweeting and posting amorous words and lamenting in text their woeful tales of unrequired desire. Love, love, love ad nauseam the whole length of my newsfeed, so much mushy love in fact I am already beginning to wonder if any of them really mean it. Do the twenty-somethings of 2016 love the way we used to love in 1996? Do they still write cards with tightly packed stolen ham poetry? Perhaps they do, but their lovey dovey chatter is so mind-numbingly plain, unlike the peacocks we were in our day, it’s a wonder they ever shine in the eyes of another.


Such lazy grunts of attraction would indeed give the impression that Tina Turner was right. Instant, faceless, and near anonymous communication is a far cry from the depth of courage we had to summon in the schoolyard. Our special, utterly divine, and beautiful other had to be approached and handed the card we had worked on the previous night. How shocking it is so many years later to look back over the shoulders of time and realise that even that glorious victory or dismal failure wasn’t love – or wasn’t the love we would later discover love to be.
Love, as I am always discovering afresh, is rarely if ever at all truly touched upon in the heroic gesture of our adolescent fantasies. Love’s true kiss is something far more wonderful and ennobling than blushing lips touching. It is a life lived in the very fullness of love and passion for another. Love is the encounter on Mount Herob, burning always yet never consuming, giving and receiving without counting the cost from storehouses in our hearts that can never be depleted. Love, our thousand tiny hands reaching out, has no physicality, limit, or fear. It drives us to accomplish miracles in the ordinary and every day. Love is common. It’s mundane. It’s a dim smouldering ember which can ignite in a flash. Like Jerusalem, love is everything and it is nothing.
Tying love to simple passions or gratifications is like lining a mud hut with bricks of gold, like pouring new wine into old wineskins. Love is our bliss, a scent of the warmth and welcome of eternity captured in a look or a glance. Love is seeing the other as the perfection they are and knowing that all the world was made for them, and that every colour would lose its brightness without them. Loving others is seeing others as heaven sees them. Life affords us fewer pleasures greater than the sheer delighting of loving and being loved in return.

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