Thursday, 15 April 2021

Let’s celebrate what love really means

“BUT were you in my arms, dear love, the happiness would take my breath away, no thought could match that ecstasy, no song encompass it, no other worlds. If I should think of love, I’d think of you.”

This piece, often attributed to the Bard, is from another author, I think. I would love to confirm by whom it was written.

February 14 is, of course, St Valentine’s Day, a day for the extravagant declaration of love with cards, chocolates and red roses. 

There are many programmes on television at the moment which try to matchmake couples who wish to be in loving relationships. There are many formats, with speed dating, blind dating, or its opposite without limit.

Those involved often speak of having, or not having, felt a spark. There is so much serendipity involved. Who can say they know the secret of a long and happy relationship? 

A couple were asked about the secret of their 50 year marriage. The husband jumped in and declared: “I have tried to be unselfish, because the word marriage has no ‘i’ in it.”

After a moment the wife replied: “For my part, I have never corrected his spelling”.

“It’s in the eyes”, people say. “You can tell from the eyes”. When people say this I think they are talking about sincerity. Is the person they are dating sincere? Are they honest and true? Can they be relied upon? 

A few years ago an army officer had to explain the loss, through irreparable damage, of two armoured tanks.

He wrote to the quartermaster to explain that two water containers had been lost. He then waited a few days and wrote again: “Further to my previous letter, I think it would be more accurate to refer to the items concerned as tanks and not water containers”.

The officer was clever but far from honest. What we require from the people we love is a sincere honesty which expresses itself in faithfulness and dependability. If we are committed to another person, we wish them to be committed to us. 

The word “sincere” comes from the Latin phrase “Sine cera”, which means “without wax”. The phrase refers to the practice in the ancient world of making an invisible repair to a damaged statue or vase.

For example, if the sculptor’s chisel slipped, the nose could be chipped off. Rather than go to the trouble of making a new statue, the sculptor would make a very good repair using some wax.

A wise client would carry the statue outside into the sun before paying for it to see if the repair melted. To see if the object was sincere, without wax.

St Paul, in his great hymn about love in his first letter to the Corinthains, describes God’s love for us; the model for our loving intentions. It is a love that “rejoices in the right”, it is a love that “believes and hopes and endures”.

We can all celebrate what love means and apply it in our lives.

My sincere good wishes to those who are celebrating St Valentine’s Day with their true love.

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