I live in a “Hallmark” society, one that has devised a special day for just about everything. And we enjoy greeting-card sound bites for life’s details, no matter how important or trivial. I guess if we create a day to honor our sweethearts or dog walkers, people will buy pretty cards and sentimentalize.
Valentine’s Day occurs at the end of this week, and although it’s tempting to use this opportunity to post about the real St. Valentine, who was a Christian martyr, I’d rather linger awhile with the idea of romance. But let’s take it beyond the cards and flowers and candy.
There’s nothing wrong with the kind of romance that is glorified by the greeting cards. Quite a few people experience romance in the boyfriend/girlfriend way. Some people have long histories of romances; others have missed that particular pleasure for any number of reasons. The important thing, though, is what happens to a person willing to be swept up in love.
Romance requires an open heart. Whether you are lifted out of yourself by a kiss or by a prayer of deep contemplation, neither can happen before you say yes to the possibility. Yes sets in motion new relationships, new conversations, and new avenues for showing others care. You don’t get to the kiss before you allow your eyes to meet another’s. You don’t get to the gifts of friendship until you say yes to the talk over coffee. You don’t get to that sense of the Divine until you say, in some part of yourself, yes, even though you have no idea what you’re saying yes to.
Romance is risk. It’s difficult to experience romance of any kind while you are fearful and self-protecting. So, whether or not February 14 signals to you the celebration of a significant other, I believe that God wants to see real romance in your life. Divine Love wants you brave and joyful. If you don’t feel particularly brave or joyful, be willing to get there. That’s a start.
What does “romance” signify for you?