MY BEST FRIEND and I have a large, wrought iron sign on our wall that says, “indulge.”
Sometimes, I take that to heart.
This is one of those times, so …
I have this “kinda, sorta” rule that says I don’t write about any given holiday on any given holiday, because (a) a lot of other folks are usually already doing that and probably better, and (b) most of us are so sick of hearing about whatever it is by then that I don’t want to contribute to collective gagging.
But, because it’s my rule, I get to break it. (OK, perhaps from time to time, I break other’s people’s rules, but that’s a discussion for a different holiday.)
It’s almost Valentine’s Day.
A day symbolized by candy, roses, chocolate, jewelry, cards, restaurants, and various and sundry other decidedly commercial undertakings — “stimulating the economy,” as it were — so, it’s easy to take a somewhat sophisticated, if not cynical, view that it’s all just another contrived event to wring money from the hands of virtually everyone, and that it has no genuine or enduring meaning.
That might well be true.
It is also one of the few repetitive events that is solely, and unabashedly, dedicated to love.
Love — what a concept. An actual day to celebrate love.
An excuse to revel in — and actually express — love.
One can’t escape the obvious observation that we don’t like it enough to actually give working folks a day off to do it.
No, we’re more likely to reserve that level of high estimation for the likes of, say, Columbus, who was more about greed and poor navigation … but I digress.
I find the idea of celebrating love rather appealing, because there seems to be no shortage of death, destruction, abuse, crime, lies, resentment, power, insanity, inanity and general stupidity assaulting us constantly.
So why not?
Why not use the excuse to tell somebody — or lots of somebodies — that you actually like them a lot. Where’s the harm in that?
“What’s love got to do with it?” Tina Turner sang.
Everything, because in the end, what else is there?
Money? Power? Fear? Medicare?
It is probably the only worthwhile reason to be here at all.
It doesn’t really matter what kind of love it is, who it’s for or to, what started it or how it’s expressed.
I know full well, for instance, that many younger folks believe that sex is their exclusive toy and can’t cope with the idea that elders might actually engage in such a thing. (Note: What would lead us to believe that folks who know the least about it, and have the least experience with it, would be the best at it? OK, another digression.)
Still, love is love, and that’s better than hate …
… or loneliness.
Love, by its nature, doesn’t kill and never abuses.
It smiles, it celebrates, it tells the truth and it lights up dark places.
Love puts smiles where frowns were and makes cold places warm.
Love makes just about everything … bearable.
This is, on a good day, a difficult planet — love makes it a lovely place — at least, for a while.
The word itself probably gets over-used … “I just love these new shoes.” Really?
“Don’t you love this Béarnaise sauce?” It’s good, although I don’t want to sleep with it.
But the fact remains that it is virtually always used to express something perceived as being really good.
You almost never hear, “… and I just loved my colonoscopy.” See?
So, why not?
Don’t spend money if you don’t want to spend money, and don’t let anybody guilt-trip you into it, but where’s the harm in saying “I love you”?
And where’s the harm in hearing it?
For those of us who have accepted the fact that immortality is unlikely, love takes on a little more meaning — more relevance, more immediacy — more … greatness, because here’s what we’ve learned:
When you’re on your way out, you won’t remember the Béarnaise sauce, but you will remember love.
Mark Harvey is director of Clallam/Jefferson Senior Information & Assistance, which operates through the Olympic Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Community Advocates for Rural Elders partnership. He can be reached at 360-452-3221 (Port Angeles-Sequim), 360-385-2552 (Jefferson County) or 360-374-9496 (West End), or by emailing [email protected].