Have you ever thought about how many times you use the word love? “I love this sweater,” or “I love that song.” While we can be “in like” with a song, it’s not the same kind of love as the deep physical and emotional feelings we have about another person. Plato said, “Love is a grave mental disease.” That statement seems better-suited to the front of a greeting card, with a sad Charlie Brown, waiting by the mailbox, hoping for a Valentine from the Little Red-Haired Girl.
ON THE INSIDE, SNOOPY WOULD BE LYING ON THE ROOF OF HIS DOGHOUSE SAYING, “AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU DON’T HAVE THAT DISEASE?”
All of us are hard-wired to want and need love. Even powerful women and gruff, arm’s-length men have a primal desire to be loved. Love makes us feel anchored and secure. Being loved goes hand in hand with how we see ourselves and how we develop mature relationships. Before I met James, I was in a relationship with a man who turned out to be a womanizer and a narcissist. As soon as I met his mother, everything fell into place.
When he was born, his oldest sibling was in college and the other a teenager. He’d been an accident, an embarrassment in a time when no one acknowledged that middle-aged people still had sex. It broke my heart to think of him growing up in that prim and proper New England house with a mother who was more concerned about what the neighbors thought, than loving her own child. While meeting her filled in a lot of the blanks, it eventually became clear that no amount of love would ever fill his empty well.
Today is Valentine’s Day, the time when we tell those around us we love them. Instead of buying a card you find at the checkout stand in the grocery store, what if you give your beloved something you’ve thought about and written in your own hand? For many of us, especially men, the thought of putting our feelings down on paper makes us uncomfortable and somehow vulnerable. Don’t worry about the wording. The real gift is that you took the time to write “I Love You” on a blank sheet of paper. And please, don’t even think about texting or emailing.
There’s something so powerful about a handwritten love letter, as opposed to hastily written digital characters that can be deleted. Indelible ink on a paper page makes us feel special, worthy of the time and thought it takes to write out our sentiments.
The best love letters James ever wrote me were the little notes he tucked into my lingerie drawer, my bathroom cabinet, or the note that tumbled into my lap when I pulled the sun visor down in my car. Lots of little notes, all year, aren’t written because the day dictates we should write them. They’re from the heart, and that makes them priceless.