Love, Neptune and Jove

Rachel's door decked out in love notes

After reading Alexander Pope, 18th Century English poet, I feel as if I must add some Greek mythology or at least throw some names of the gods out there… and they seem to go appropriately well with the euphemism “love”.

I know I am a bit late for reflecting on Valentine’s Day, but there were a few things I was thinking of the week leading up to that fatal day that I need to coin, if only for my own sanity. First off, I feel badly for single guys on that day. Commercial holiday or not, you can’t ignore that everyone else seems to be in love, or at least in their lover’s arms but you. At least for girls, we can still have a grand time with one of our girl friends and it not be seen as strange. We can profess love and give gifts to each other without causing any suspicion of us being more than two happily single (straight) girl friends enjoying each other’s company and laughing at the folly of men. Poor men, they can’t exactly do that on Valentine’s day without raising question of their sexuality. If two blokes go to the movie together on Valentine’s day, well, why would they do that?! Surely they’re allowed to have a good time and go on with normal life on Valentine’s day just like anyone else. But how many guys do you hear of having a dinner party for all their other single friends to drink wine and eat chocolates and watching chick flicks and painting their toe nails on Valentine’s? If you know any, I’d like to meet them. On second thoughts, maybe not. So…is there a male version of celebrating singleness on V-Day together?

I have had too many single V-Days –you can tell by how much I know about girls’ night dinner parties. That doesn’t keep me from loving on all those around me. (not what you think, I know you British!) For instance, this is how I “love on” my flat mates:  I made one last batch of cookies before Lent,  swept the floor, organized the recycling, cut out paper hearts and wrote notes on them. Maybe I was trying to put off doing my work, yes. While Rachel was dutifully toiling over her dissertation in her room, I cut hearts out of one of those Unipool booklets that have been sitting on our kitchen table, wrote notes on them and quietly taped them all over her door, plus a few other objects… She didn’t find out till an hour later.

I guess Rich did write a billet-doux of sorts to Udo one night as well, and slipped it under his door, but he was very drunk, and the next day even he couldn’t  decipher his message. Ah, flat mate love! That note is currently on our fridge door, to be displayed for his embarrassment and our entertainment.  Rachel and I doting on each other isn’t as hilarious to our fellow flat mates as the boys are; I suppose mocking gays is more acceptable than mocking lesbians?

Well, back to Valentines Day — I succeeded in finding one American custom, or holiday, that traditionally treats women better than men. Not only are retail, flower shops, and Hallmark  geared toward women, things that their man can buy for them, but society is  gentler to single women than men on that day as well. Then again, V-day can turn out to meet less than expectations if a woman expects too much. Men are often slack or forget. Why was I feeling sorry for them? I would rather have a man who professes his love to me in little ways everyday than in one large, lavish gift on Valentine’s Day.

For now, I need to get my head out of the clouds and back on earth. What does it mean to love each other now, your friends, co-workers, the people around you? What little act of love, in service, a kind word, a helping hand, can help spread God’s love to people on this earth? I’ll leave you with that, my deep philosophical quiery… But seriously, can you imagine what would the world, our city, our relationships look like if we reflected Jesus Christ’s example.

Lest I be deemed a hopeless romantic, I’ll quote my favorite Bible verse on the topic of love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8  — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

That kind of love is worth striving to be.

posing in a garden in Harrogate, England

outside Betty's in Harrogate: for the love of tea and confectioneries

more home-made cookies

flat mates and “Valentines”
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