The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

February 12, 2013

The true meaning of Valentine’s Day

Who is your Valentine? Think about it.

When we were kids in school, we gave valentines to everyone. They simply asked if the other person would be their valentine, which meant be their friend. Those valentines were so cute and comical and clever. It was so fun to get them from all our classmates and put them (the cards, not the classmates) in our boxes we had made for the express purpose of holding all our valentines.

We always had heart-shaped cookies and red Kool-Aid. We had little cups of those tiny pastel colored hearts (that tasted like sweet chalk) with little sayings printed on them.

Valentine’s Day was a fun day for all us kids in school, because we loved parties for anything. It was only when we got older that we realized that valentines were really expressions of love for another person and not just a reason for a party.

Now, Valentine’s Day is almost as commercial as Christmas. People are expected to give a present showing love. If some women don’t receive a dozen or so roses, they feel sorry for themselves and feel unloved.

Well, I am here to tell you there are many more ways to show love. Jim and I were just saying this morning how, when he was physically able, he always took the trash out and got the paper in and cleared the dinner table and every other job around the house. I never changed a light bulb or washed the car or did any yardwork.

Time and circumstances change things, and as we get older, we go to another plan. But just because Jim no longer is able to do all those odd jobs and take care of everything does not mean there is any less love between us. The tables have turned, and now it is my time to care for him. I am so grateful I am able to help him stay at home and be cared for.

The root of all life’s joy is love. Love makes life worth living. Under its spell, all things glow with worthwhile purpose, and even a common bush by the roadside becomes beautiful. Everything is beautiful in its own way, and we see beauty more easily when we see the world through the eyes of love.

Love brings a new sense of value, a conviction of vast importance of one human life, and we begin to ask, “Would my life be complete without that person?” True love helps us discover powers in ourselves that we scarcely expected. We are amazed at what love brings to us.

Someone wise suggested three major considerations in the choice of a life companion: deliberation, completion, and mutuality. There are standards of love that must be maintained if the divine energy is to continue. Love must be able to respect the standards of the loved one or the relation of love ceases, and nothing takes its place. I think that is one reason that love at first sight cannot be trusted. We may have an instant attraction, but it takes time to know the standards and loyalties of heart which condition unfailing love.

Marriage is the most serious venture in life. A business relationship can be dissolved without serious or permanent hurt to either party. Marriage cannot. Married life is not all songs and flowers and laughter. There are times that demand radical adjustments of personalities or circumstances. All the undesirable traits or character are revealed in the constant, intimate relationship of marriage. But so are all the good sides of a person’s makeup.

Health may fail. Financial reverses may come. Situations may develop that demand extreme sacrifices of energy, or possession, or of all our hopes and desires. Nothing — nothing but true love — can stand the tests of married life. Therefore, we must not enter into marriage thoughtlessly and hastily. If one loves truly and deeply, no sacrifice is too great. With true love, all the circumstances of life only binds two hearts closer together.

That, my dear readers, is what Valentine’s Day is all about: true love. Valentine’s Day means finding true love, and working toward perfect harmony and true understanding of a person. In caring for Jim, I do not ask for an easier life, but strength to endure the things I have to do, and want to do to make his life more comfortable and more pleasant. It is a far cry from those cute valentines we gave back in grade school to all our friends.

When two souls really do discover each other, at once a new enthusiasm begins, so radiant, beautiful, stimulating and mysterious that even poets have failed to find sufficient words for it.

In their hearts, they know that this is who they were born for, that love is the very core and essence of human existence.

I have a speech that I present sometimes to interested groups about love and how to express it. Love is reflected in the old worn quilt that Grandma gave us that contains so much warmth on a cold night. Love is shown in the rag doll that Mother made of flour sacks for me when I was about four years old during the Great Depression.

Love was what brought Daddy to the waterfall that me and my cousin got under during a terrible Oklahoma storm to be protected from flying tree limbs and wind. I knew in my heart Daddy would come. Love is big sisters watching over us and protecting us when Mother was real busy.

As the old saying goes: “Time flies, suns rise, and shadows fall, Let time go by. Love is forever over all.”

For Valentine’s Day, I will bake these tasty cookies to honor Jim’s Scottish mother, and because they are his favorites — and because they are so very simple to make.

Scottish Shortbread

1 stick butter, softened

1⁄3 cup sugar

11⁄4 cup flour

powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in flour. Spread dough in 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes until lightly brown. Let cool in pan and dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you all.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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