In one month, Valentine’s Day will be upon us. And while this is often a day set aside for romantic love, as February approaches set aside time to remember there are other types of love.
Parents, siblings, cousins, friends, pets, spiritual beings…they are all the loves in our lives. The parents that set curfews and force you to eat your vegetables, their love is instantaneous and guaranteed to embarrass every teenager. A child, sons and daughters alike, places their parents on a pedestal of love. Sure they cry and push boundaries, but whenever they are tired or sick or frightened they run to their parents with trust and love. Those same sons and daughters will play together, fight together and stand up for each other. Their love is forged through years of sibling rivalry, because “no one picks on my little brother but me!”
Even if you can’t claim a great band of biological family that you adore, you can always turn to true friends. Friends are the loves that you choose. They see your flaws and accept them. They will laugh with you or at you, knowing that you will have a good laugh at them in return. They will get you into trouble, bail you out of trouble, and sit next to you in jail saying “that was awesome!”
Don’t have any friends you can call tonight? You can stay home and cuddle with your eager pet. Dog or cat, they are home when you return from work. Tails wagging, imploring eyes peeking up at you, they are always ready to listen to your woes. They rely on you implicitly for shelter and food. Young pups or old cats, they provide you love every moment and yearn for your affection in return.
And when there is no pet to scratch behind the ear, perhaps then there is another love you can turn to. A silent love you whisper on a prayer that fills you with a soft warm glow. A love you can’t define in words, but you carry in your heart and show in random acts of kindness. Perhaps you share this love with others in a gathering or prefer to celebrate privately in silent contemplation. This spiritual love comes in various forms, but is embraced by many.
This Valentine’s Day rather than planning an extravagant dinner of wine and candlelight, try planning on showing your love a different way. Send a card to a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Call your parents; remind them about that time you tried making dinner and destroyed the kitchen. Take your siblings or cousins out to dinner and reminisce about the good old times. Bring your pet a special treat, because they will love you no matter what day it is. Or plan on a special night when you can be on your own. A night when you can contemplate the mysteries of life and nature, a force you feel is forever present in your life.
As you plan on celebrating Valentine’s Day may you honor love in all its manifestations. Because in any form it is this affection that binds us, that brings us joy and sorrow, it is our greatest aspiration, it is…love.