Valentine's Day

   Me and my mom, 1959.

Me and my mom, 1959.

Probably one of the highest highs I’ve had as I’ve grown older was to learn about the bottomless well-source of love of which a human soul is capable, of which I am capable. To love a person feels so fulfilling: to feel this overwashing and all-encompassing sense of one’s self and how that self is connected or offered or fulfilled in the other person.

   From where does all this love bubble up?

From where does all this love bubble up?

I’ve also been surprised to learn how an additional person can come along and “Bam!” I can feel the same-but-different sense of myself and how that sense is connected or offered or fulfilled in this additional other person. I think of how I loved my wife no less when my son was born, even though he created in me the same-but-different overwashing sense of love; I loved him no less when my daughter was born, yet she created in me the same-but-different overwashing sense of love for her…from where does all this love bubble up? Is the well-source actually bottomless?

I’ve realized that through my life a very few people, here and there, fill or create a place in me which is otherwise void or almost nonexistent until I meet that person; suddenly my life has another whole unexpected aspect to it and I love that person for how they have changed and expanded and enriched my life. I am a new person because of and with that person and I like to think I’m a better person, too, and how could one not love a person who does such a wondrous thing to one’s life? Yes, I understand that the flavors of each love is different, but none of the loves diminishes any of my other loves even in the most infinitesimal amount; love seems to add to love in an unexpected and unexplainable and ever-expanding way. It’s really a marvelous and frightening and wondrous realization about this bottomless-well.

Additionally, I have found that love can withstand the fadings-of-time that happen with so many other emotions…ironically, my mother died on Valentine’s Day 2002, and yet I find 16 years later that my sense of her and myself in relation to her—my love for her—has faded not one jot, not one tittle. I remember her hugs, I remember her voice, I remember her laugh—she laughed easily and well. After 16 years, one might expect a certain fading, but there are certain senses—perhaps they’re from the soul, not the mind—that just don’t fade. I still find myself thinking—at least for an instant—to phone her when something exciting or delightful happens, when my son and daughter were accepted to the college of their choice, or when they graduated. That sense of myself connected with my mom has persisted, as has my love for her and my sense of her love for me.

And my siblings, whom I see but once or twice a year: my love for them persists despite time and distance. No wonder Valentine’s Day is such a great day to enjoy! What a funny and glorious thing to be human, what a funny and glorious thing to love!