The red hearts hit us right at the start of a year, replacing the Christmas candy and New Year bling in the grocery stores. As cupid rears his chubby cheeks and mocking arrow we are reminded that love is not only a dynamic force to be reckoned with, but that it is also marked by western commercialism. It hits us at every generation. Hearts drawn with crayons are passed around the middle school hallways among the little ones who have not yet grasped the intensity of love. Shopping aisles are devoted to just chocolate (I personally don’t have a problem with this one!), and employees of the restaurant industry get hopeful that a day of love might equate to generous tippers. Individuals who were lucky enough to find themselves attached this month take on the stress of deciding what to wear or how to afford the heightened prices of food, flowers and uber rides that society has inflicted on them on this day. Meanwhile those who are single are made to feel bad. The older we are the worse we feel…
So we arrive at the fourteenth day of February each year filled with lovemaking, romance, bitterness and loneliness all on this occasion. To make matters worse this year, the premiere of “50 Shades of Grey” added an intense edge to the already emotionally and sexually charged event. Yes, I suppose it is safe to say that I have grown rather skeptical about this money and soul-sucking holiday.
For my wife and myself, Valentine’s day was an opportunity to cash in on the over rated proclamation of pink and red love. We took on a catering job at the home of a sweet elderly couple celebrating their anniversary. There we were surrounded by magic under a lavishly constructed tent with elegant furnishings, lanterns, deep red roses, the clinking of champagne flutes topped with Dom Perignon Rose, and a dazzling band that filled our hearts with music.
As always, I worked hard behind the bar pouring and mixing the elixirs of good feelings. Every now and then, the band would sing “that song”- the ones that hit close to home. My eyes would look up to search for my bride across the tent, tending the tables and serving the guests. Then like magic, her eyes would search for me until our gaze was locked. In an electric connection we could speak a language that no words, flowers or candy could do justice to. It was a language that said, “Every bit of sacrifice has been worth it, and no matter how challenging life gets, I’m content with you in my arms. I would do it all over and over again just to be able to look at you this way, and have look into my inmost soul as you are right now.”
Okay, perhaps the romantic setting and candlelight ambience had something to do with this magic, or maybe I am turning into more of a sap each year. However such is the power of love. It breaks down the hardest of us. When standing at the face of a phenomena that knows no reason, we are left shaken by its aptitude to transform us from our very core. We are left speechless by the strongest force of humanity… LOVE!