The prince and the princess were reunited at last, they embraced, gazed at one another. They were soon married and lived happily ever after.
Five days from now is the day of love hearts, and flowers, the day of boxes of chocolates, of cards and candle lit dinners… It is a day dedicated to romance, to flirtation, and to that powerful, pervasive, and perennially perplexing word, love.
“Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion.”
It is also a day that many of us dread... Not only of we don't have a romantic partner to share it with - not only because of childhood traumas connected with the awkward business of exchanging valentines - With it painful mix of unwelcome crushes, rejection, and the underappreciated horror of unpopularity...
More than all that, Valentine's day is a time when we reinforce our most unrealistic impressions of love.
The love we dream of is a love we heard of in a childhood story - a love between two perfect people, perfectly matched, who found each other and overcame the obstacles that conspired to keep them apart. And - from then on - love was present and love allowed them to live happily ever after.
Not one of us has - I am willing to wager - every encountered a love like that. We have never fallen in love in a way where everything is perfect - a fit so right that there are no rough edges, no irritations, no disagreement.
We have never seen a couple - whether gay, straight or otherwise - who have had such a relationship.
And yet, people talk about finding that right someone - that soul-mate - that one perfectly complementary person - the soul-mate - the person who will make them complete.
Worse, we continue to compare those we are with to that illusory ideal.
Know my needs before I know them!
Respond perfectly in all situations!
Don’t put your own needs before mine!
Never get frightened or angry or resentful!
Love is not something we find - like a perfectly cut and polished ruby lying around somewhere if we just look hard enough.
Love is something we create together, from the crude ore of a human encounter. If we are wise, we do not reject the unrefined gem, but begin to work with it. We start to get a feel for the nature and the potential of the raw material we have been given. And then slowly, day by day and year by year, something starts to take shape.
The adhering stone is carefully removed with the tools of deep listening, acceptance, and adaptation. The ruby emerges more and more, as the polish of nurturing and supportive care work their wonders.
The work is never completed, though. Without care, accumulated grime and scratches increasingly cloud and foul the gleaming gem.
If we continue to listen and understand through all the changes and challenges, the ruby of love can shine bright.
Don’t look for love.
It is here.
Open your heart to become a part of love.