St. Valentine is dictating the theme for today. A daunting undertaking, so much to say, but unsure where to start. Over the past month so many ideas percolated. I taught a college course on sexuality and relationships and wrote a textbook to accompany the course and have been in a loving marriage for 35 years, so I do have reams of experience to draw on, yet, at the eleventh hour found myself flummoxed. Tonight, before curfew, a dear group of us sang love songs and had moist eyes. It was glorious.
A hopeless romantic, I studied all kinds of love: Gary Chapman’s love languages, Agape love; the highest form of love. I took a university course “The Philosophy of Love and Sex” and studied Plato’s Symposium. Over the years I have collected various wedding vows: Apache vows, The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, traditional wedding vows and secular ones.
I poured over love comics as a child. They can still be found in comic book stores and are rather hilarious and so very sexist.
Novels about relationships captured, (and stimulated), my childhood imagination and the love between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Bylthe started a lifelong passion for true love and for books.
While appraising romantic comedies with much disdain, well written words of affirmation expressing one’s devotion to their beloved are my favorite kind of poetry.
My father wrote, but mostly recited lovely sonnets. My mom described him as very romantic, full of passion, and she fell for the poet in him. This is a picture of the day my parents got engaged, on a picnic. The love lessons learned in our family of origin are long lasting and ones we take forward into future relationships. What grand fortune to have witnessed their love and commitment to one another for over 65 years.
Here is a piece written by Muriel Gertrude Kenward. My dear Aunt, my father’s sister was a favorite poet of mine. She wrote a book of poetry and graced me with a copy before she died in 2011. “My Beloved”. She could recite it , dramatically, and she did just that, for many years at every wedding, for her nieces, nephews, and each grandchild. Her voice and spirit are present, as I type her loving words into the WordPress template.
Today, I honour my heritage, one that grounded me in love and provided me with the stability and example to be able to give and receive love . My ancestors left an indelible imprint and I am aware of the precious gift it is to have had a family and now a mate who love well. I am also grateful to have been surrounded by those who lust for the right word and the satisfaction that comes when feelings are expressed with flair and beauty.
My Beloved by Aunt Muriel
“How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways,
Not as Elizabeth Barret counts,
But as my own heart says.
I love thee in my laughter,
I love thee thru’ my tears,
In the heartbeat of each second,
And the coursing of the years.
I love thee as the humble hound
That lies adoring at her master’s feet,
And as the proud cat purrs her love
For the slave who gives her warmth and meat.
I love thee as friend meets friend
And as kindred spirits meet,
I love thee with a jealous love
And a selfless giving sweet.
I love thee as I loved my father,
I love thee as I love my child,
With puppy love, with brotherly love,
With a passion lusty and wild.
I love thee as one atom in its wandering
Is, by Gods most marvellous rule
Bonded to another, to form
An unknown molecule.
I love thee with a force that
Holds me, like an iron chip
Is held, immovable in
A magnets’ powerful grip.
I love thee as the moon is pulled
By earth, in orbit round the sun,
I love thee in the tint of dawn,
And in the shades as day is done.
I love thee in the smallest thing
That on this earth appears,
Yet my love sings to the ends of the universe
In the music of the spheres.
I love thee because the Great Lord God
Has given this love to me,
And now, I love the Lord God more,
Because he hath made thee.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, lucky lovers.
If you would like to share a love story of any kind, please send it to us firstname.lastname@example.org and we can fill our blog with LOVE for the month of February.