Valentine Love

Today can be hard.
This date sticks out.  
You think you're fine when you know it's approaching, then it comes at you like a lurking storm sometimes, out of nowhere.
Expectations are high.
Rarely ever met.
Pessimism steals.
Don't let it.
But how?

I'm still this morning as I think about you, and love you.
Some of you have endured unspeakable tragedies since this time, last.
I'm feeling your losses, and attempts to look for joy in them.
It can't even be possible, it feels.
You tried to stay, but he hurt you too much.  For the last time.
You had something... really something, but it came to a dead-end.
You didn't see it coming at all.
Your nephew ended his life, your parents split, your beloved Golden Retriever finally gave in.
Each time you loved hard, and you lost.  How do you love again?
So you had to make a different choice if you were going to survive.
The intense work it takes to not give way to cynicism is all you can do mostly.
Perhaps take a quiet moment, place your hand gently on your heart and be still for a minute or so, just to feel the heartbeat.  
The breath.  
The flow.
Be glad.  
Enjoy the miracle that your heart sustains you, feeds you, meets you.  
Some people don't feel at all.  It takes too much courage.
But you feel.  And it's good.
Treasure that even when your heart breaks, it heals and restoration comes.  
Feel the heat in your chest.  
The pounding.  The opening.  
The risk.  The unknown.  
Valentine's lost, hurt.
They pull and rob us of belief that love exists or lasts, but it does.
I promise.
It's okay to grieve, to remember, to cry.  Stay close to that.  Be present to it.
You're coming alive.  

And there's your wins.
Your "love" wins.
I celebrate those with you.
Perhaps, you're as in love as you've ever been.  
He finally asked and you said yes.
She conceived after all this waiting.
He kept a promise.
She looked you in the eyes and let you in for the first time.  She is starting to trust.  

I'm watching and I'm clapping loud claps.

You deserve it.  You found something extraordinary, and your life just got amazing in ways you hadn't dreamed up yet and you don't want it to ever end.  And you want to tell us all about it.
I'm listening.  Watching.  Cheering from the stands.
You want to share your pictures and tweet your love notes.
You want us to feel what you're feeling, to relish in the hope you have, to smile at the hand you finally get to hold.  
I do.  
I am.

I so hope this is your Valentines Day; this latter one.  The one where you're winning.
The one where love is within reach, speaking the language you can hear at last.

I'm somewhere in the middle.
Not where I dreamed, but not where I was.
Movement is good.  Slow and forward.  Hard but healthy.
I am spending today alone in a most beautiful sense... on purpose and grateful.
In between sentences as I write, I take Facebook scrolling breaks and see your pictures pouring in with roses on kitchen tables, candles and chocolates, romantic dinners and handwritten sentiments.  Your wedding pics, his kisses, the moment you held your baby for the first time.
And because of this, your loves, I'm enjoying mine.  
My love.  My day.  My Valentines Day.
Your love fills mine.

I'm learning that loving people in love is one way I can give back, to make the space between us open and wide, to hold my own heart close as one that feels with you, which I am seeing more and more is not only a gift to you, but a gift to me.  
I'm appreciating my tenderness; my messy and risky drive to love and be loved, willing to take on whatever comes from soul connection this deep.
The vulnerability makes me shake sometimes but in the end, I wouldn't trade it.  
Not ever.
I'm staying awake to love, no matter where and how and why my heart hurts because only there is possibility ever born.  When my eyes and hands are open, there's room for a fresh wind to take me up in surprise, to show me yet again another facet to all that love is.

So my dearest friends, love well today.
From one end to the other, the losses and wins, or some where scattered in the middle, what you're able to give in love, from your heart of love, could be just the healing Valentine someone right next to you has been aching to hold.  

Happy Valentine's Day.
I love you.