Love. noun. Depending on who you ask, it is a many splendored thing, all you need, in the air, or an open door. Take your pick.
One October night, I sat crankily in night class. Mondays were a long, full start to the week. I felt alone. My professor brought a bag of Dove chocolate to motivate us, the methods students who were barely treading water and barely interested in grammar at 6:24 at night. I took two, tasted dark sweetness, smoothed a crinkled wrapper. Open your eyes to the love around you, it said.
Open your eyes to the love around you.
This wrapper sticks on my desk, months later, next to a post-it of prayer requests and a card from my grandma. I needed those words that night, when weariness and an absence of new texts spoke louder than truth.
I need it this week, too, when pink and red overtake Target and hand-holding couples exponentially multiply, when it’s easier than ever to feel alone.
I know, cognitively, that I am loved. But I don’t always feel it. My brain and heart are needy. They crave affirmation and slips towards doubt when silence stretches too long. They struggle with faith, in God and in friends. They want bold, obnoxious proclamations, the stuff of movie monologues and Valentine’s Day commercials.
Open your eyes.
This Valentine’s Day, I don’t wish for more love, more friends, a more serious relationship. I don’t need elaborate, romantic surprises or public displays of affection.
I need eyes to see all the love that is already around me.
Sometimes this love is hard to spot in daily life’s routines. It doesn’t wear sequins. It is ordinary, solid. It is the stuff of Monday nights and sweatshirts and leftovers for supper. It looks like phone calls from end lounges, emails on Sunday evenings, Skype dates instead of homework. It sneaks into massage trains during meetings and Ziploc bags of homemade cookies and last-minute lunch dates. It whispers over heaven-sent snowfall, fresh glitter over the ground.
I want to remember these real, small gifts when the weeks drag on and I sit too long in quiet rooms. I need to hold them, feel their weight in my palm, see their significance.
I am not alone. I am not unloved.
And neither are you.
This week, may our eyes be opened to the love around us, and may our hearts and souls be filled.