It is Valentine’s Day. Have you gotten a valentine? I have always felt like Charlie Brown when it comes to Valentines.
I often sat in the classroom, when in grade school, daydreaming about Susan McNeel. She was an adorable girl in the same grade as me. I gave her a ring for Christmas in the first grade. She was my first unrequited love, at least I think it was unrequited, I never asked her how she felt about me. I was a very solemn brown eyed, round headed boy, very much like Charlie Brown. I was so caught up in my fantasies I could easily have done what Charlie does in the cartoon below.
Not receiving a valentine can be very bruising for a little boy. I think this accounts for my cynicism regarding the holiday today. I can remember giving a beautiful red hat to a woman I was madly in love with as an adult. It didn’t fit her, and I couldn’t return it. I don’t remember what happened to it. Yet another Valentine’s Day gift tossed into the dustbin of history. I read in the paper today about a museum devoted to the artifacts of broken up relationships. That hat could have gone there. An artifact of a stillborn relationship. But I also recall a friend of mine sending a valentine to a woman he was infatuated with. I had been trying to get him to approach her and ask her out for many months. He started to send the valentine without his phone number, but I persuaded him to add that so she could call if she wanted. He was close to crapping his pants, but he did it. She called, and they even went out. I will leave the memory there, while it is still wonderful. I seem to recall valentines I received which were kept for years, until it reached a point where I could not refresh the thrill I felt when I received it. However, as I recall, in grade school little girls could be very cruel to little round headed boys. My self-esteem was pretty tattered after getting through first grade. Although I never opened myself up to ridicule to quite the same extent as Charlie Brown in this final example of childhood angst.
So there you have it. Love. How is it possible in this modern world of irony? Young people often think of Charles Schulz as conservative and out of touch, but he was ahead of his time in expressing the reality of childhood. When you have the courage to put your heart out there and express your feelings you can’t expect tenderness in return. Everyone is on their guard against such tenderness. They have been hurt far too many times in their lives. Yet Love still beckons, even for the hardest hearts and those who appear to have given up on life. We secretly yearn for that thrill of discovery. The discovery that you are truly loved, not for anything you have done, or you have, or because you look a certain way. Because you are. Nothing more. Our likes come and go throughout the day, depending upon our mood, or how our body feels at the time. Sometimes we can be pretty cruel, especially to strangers on the internet. But Love is something else. Like is a caprice. Love is forever. Love is commitment. Love is why we even bother. We like vanilla. or we like chocolate, but we Love the whole astounding magnificence of it all.