Monday, February 14, 2011

Ah, Valentine's Day

Ah, Valentine's day. We are helpless. Every year it arrives on February 14th whether we want it or not. It's that big reminder for all you singles out there - YOU AIN'T GOT NOBODY! Sorry to be so rude and frank.

As I look at the picture of Cupid, who has apparently shot an arrow somewhere, I've come to the conclusion he's just a lousy shot. Maybe we can blame the lack of romantic love in our lives on him this year? A little projection helps the psyche now and then, don't you think?

Wikipedia says, and I quote: "In Roman mythology, Cupid (Latin cupido, meaning "desire") is the god of desire, affection and erotic love. He is the son of goddess Venus and god Mars." Apparently, we humans, think when his golden arrow is shot into some unsuspecting heart, we're bound to fall in love.

Love, of course, comes in many flavors. I wrote a blog post some years back on my Lessons From the Phantom of the Opera blog, so I thought I would repost some of my thoughts for you here, while you're eating your Valentine box of chocolates.

The word for love in the original Greek language actually describes three types. When we read love in the English language, we see a four letter word describing all aspects. The English word for love narrowly defines its meaning and does not do it justice.

The Greek language defines love as follows:

  • Eros – the type of love that is sensual with desire and longing. It denotes passion rather than affection like Agape.
  • Agape – the type of love associated with our spouses, children, parents. It denotes affection, rather than passion, like eros.
  • Philia – a term used for platonic love, such as friends, family, community. It’s a concept of loyalty.
We all know the famous words describing love in action: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

The word for love is this text is Agape love, which is also the definition used to describe God's love for mankind in scripture. We can read the words above and see a description of love in its perfection, but I dare say not many of us have experienced such perfect love from humans in our own lives. Our concept of love as individuals is molded by our experiences from how others treat us. There are times that love hurts. For some individuals, it's easy to see love and life through rose-colored glasses. Sorry, I'm not that way. I definitely have the dark shades on.

Each of my readers here have different perceptions of love. Our concept of love is formed from our life experiences. Whether we are children or adults, how we are treated by others close to us that profess love, paints a picture. For me, my romantic life has been the pits, riddled with personal heartbreak. Every man that has uttered the words, "I love you" has either betrayed me, been unfaithful, lied, or abused me emotionally or physically. Because of these experiences, do you think that my view of love might be a bit distorted?

In any event, as we reflect on February 14th once again, it's good to remind ourselves that love comes in various forms. Though Cupid is strictly the Eros love, which is sorely lacking in our lives, we are left with the Agape and Philia love instead. With that knowledge, I guess we take what love we do have. For me, it is an 18-month old granddaughter who opens her arms wide to me and shows me affection or my son who appreciates his mom with "love ya" text messages. Then there's that cat, who sticks his face in mine every night and tickles me with his white whiskers and purrs telling me he cares. To round it off, there is the caring friendship love of those close to me.

For the Eros love that I lack, I write my books, watch my historical romance DVD's, and just dream about things that will no doubt never come to pass in my life again. I've come to believe that the gift of lasting Eros love is truly just that -- a gift -- whether from Cupid's arrow or God's hand. It's one I've not been given in life. I've mourned its absence, and I make the best of it. I suppose, though, that is why I so strongly encourage people to keep, cherish, and never toss away romantic love once received. There's no guarantee it will ever grace your life again.

My suggestion to you? If you're a woman, go out and buy yourself a dozen red roses and enjoy the fragrance of the rose in your home. (I love roses, because they are filled with symbolism too that romantic love can be a fragrant thing, but it can also prick your heart with its thorn and make you bleed.) If you're a guy, well, frankly I'm not quite sure what you guys do, but go do it.

Sending you flowers on this Valentine's day and Philia love.

Fondly,
Vicki