I live alone and have for many, many years. I’m not complaining, — mostly I like it! So, when I was approached about writing a blog for Valentine’s Day my first thought was, “Me? Really? What do I know about celebrating Valentine’s Day?” But as I prayed about it, I realized what a wonderful opportunity it is to be asked to be an active participant in the celebration. The invitation made me feel loved and appreciated. This also gave me an inspiring opportunity to think about some of the things that have brought me joy and a sense of belonging on past Valentine’s days.
For example, I cherish what Mrs. Eddy wrote about love (human love) from Miscellaneous Writings. She wrote (Misc 250:16), “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth.”
This inspires us throughout the year to search out ways to contribute, with lovingkindness, to others in need, such as through volunteer work in our communities and at church. There are so many people who are grateful for even the smallest gift of time and assistance! Reaching out to meet that need blesses the giver as well as the receiver and in this way we all feel more love.
Last year everyone on the camp’s mailing list got a Valentine from Crystal Lake Camps with an invitation to be Crystal Lake Camp’s Valentine. I loved the idea and was able to make camp my Valentine by sending a donation to camp instead of spending it on going out. It was so much more fulfilling to spend Valentine’s Day thinking of the campers who are benefited by going to Crystal Lake Camps than to be thinking of myself.
However, sometimes it’s nice to go out on Valentine’s day too! One year a fellow church member called me up late on Valentine’s Day afternoon and asked if I’d like to go to a movie with her that night because she didn’t want to stay home alone. Neither did I, so we went and saw “Slumdog Millionaire”. It wasn’t what I would call the quintessential Valentine’s Day movie! But it gave me plenty to pray about and I even blogged about the inspirations that came from that prayer. Those inspirations still bless me, and I will never forget my friend’s Valentine kindness in thinking of me as a movie companion.
One of the things I’ve discovered that has brought a deep sense of contentment and joy regarding Valentine-love is that a search for the right person, often doesn’t turn up the results we hoped for, but when we look for right-oneness instead of the right one, we find goodness everywhere and in everyone. It’s like finding thousands of candles instead of finding a single bright light. The candles give off just as much light, but the light-source is more diffuse; it surrounds us. In this search for right-oneness, we are more interested in being a friend, than in having a friend. We find that it is more important to be loving than to be loved.
And, of course, we know that “Love [divine Love] is reflected in love [human love]” (SH p.17). So the best way to be loving and find love is to draw closer to God, Love Itself, and this can make every day feel likea wonderful, love-filled, Valentine’s Day.
– Written by an anonymous Crystal Lake Camps alumni
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