It is indeed a blessing that every year, in the month of February, all of us get an opportunity to fall in love again. Whether we’re married or single, in a new relationship or old, looking for love or looking to renew it, the spirit of Valentine’s Day – which happens on February the 14th – ought to inspire us to be thankful for it all, and to promise ourselves that we will nurture what little we’ve been given.
They say heaven and hell are equally within reach for human beings, because within us we have the capacity both for sacrifice and selfishness. If the road to hell is paved by hate, then the path leading to heaven’s gates must surely be through the tunnel of love. If we’re to bring about the heaven that we aspire to on Earth, the only option before us is to stoke those flames of love that burn within our hearts.
There is much to be cynical about the world today. The threat of global warming is ever present. Oil is running out, promising to plunge us all into another dark age. With the ascent of the information age, people are strangely becoming more intolerant of each other, the exact opposite of what was predicted by the hopeful inventors of the World Wide Web.
Geopolitically, all the countries of the world are engaged in a fierce currency war that will sooner or later spill out into the battlefield. It won’t be long before a leader of a country snaps and calls for the troops. And before we know it, we will be doing that which we promised we’d never do – kill each other over petty fights. The world is drowning in a sea of debt, and there seems to be little we can do to swim out of it.
A cynic will point out all this and say, where is the love?
But on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, even if it’s for one day of the year, let’s not be cynical, because the cynic cannot love. Being in love means to give of oneself with humility and gratitude to another, and the foundation stone of all love is trust – not that your heart will not get broken, but in the idea that it is better to have loved and lost than it is not to love at all. Only the hopeful – the cynic would call you deluded – fall and remain in love.
There are two kinds of love, too. One is the grasping, selfish love which yearns to possess. The other is a liberating, freeing love that is an outpouring of everything good in you. The first kind cripples you, whereas the second imbues you with respect for another person as unique and valuable. While the first can make you small and weak, the second can release in your strength, courage and wisdom you didn’t know you had.
Today, more than ever, we need to be hopeful. We need to be deluded. We need to be in love. Each and every one of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.