Thursday, February 11, 2010

Godde's Valentines

Valentines come in many ways. But I remember being nervous when the day was honored in school. Did I get one for everyone? Should I stuff several extra ones in the boxes of favorite people. True loves? How many will I get? What if I don’t get at least the same number as the number of students in my class? Someone doesn’t love me? Do I have to give one to her?

Love can make you a nervous wreck. You can get heart trouble over it. That’s because you need love to live.

Godde’s valentines aren’t competitive; they are all over the place; they are available to anyone who can notice. You find them in the oddest places. They are the ones that say Love isn’t dead, neither am I. Notice and live.

I’m retiring, leaving. I’m sad because I will miss the love I have had here in work and play, people and landscape. I’m glad because I will have more time to write, have fun in the city, lunch long, read, actually have seated conversations with my husband, see kids and grandkids, get older and maybe nap. In fact I will be doing just what I do now only with more leisure and freedom.

Good byes mean loss of love to me. How many farewell discourses are attributed to Jesus in the New Testament? Full of reassurances and last minute brush-ups on the gospel message. The final I love yous. Is this the early church bolstering itself up, grieving, worrying about who will love them now? Mmmhmmm.

For almost every weighty good bye, one that has love in it, there is a proposed plan to “keep in touch” call and write, visit. We are sure we will keep our promises and usually we don’t. Not because we don’t want to but because we get captured by another phase of life and we keep moving.

Preparation for all this leaving makes me both vulnerable to love loss and extra sensitive to and appreciative of its presence. Just calling the phone company to terminate my office service I felt loved, cared for when a person called Claire spoke to me for real. “I’ll connect you with the disconnection department," she said. Immediately I was on hold, tortured by a most unappealing repertoire of music.

Love went away.

The disconnection department! A paradox of the day. Do we need to be disconnected electronically to realize how much we need to be connected in the flesh?

A man spoke to the officer in the bank. He had forgotten his PIN number. “I know it. I tried it a couple of times and the machine didn’t work.” The officer brought up his transactions on the computer. “Well, sir, it looks like you made a number of stabs at it.” She showed him, not a trace of sarcasm in her voice or eyes. He roared with laughter. “Must be twenty or more tries there!” They laughed. “I’ll reset the PIN and the machine for you, sir.”

A friend told me recently that he'd complained to his therapist that his wife asked him to do things in a critical way. It turned him off, made him resentful. The therapist said he understood completely. “When my wife speaks it’s like God to me. But sometimes I just don’t like the tone.”

National Grid has been installing new and safer gas pipes on our street. For weeks. Bulldozers sleep here. Sometimes we have to park up the road. “I’m so sorry about all this inconvenience,” the worker, covered with grease and looking exhausted, said with a smile.

I’m noticing such little divine Valentines all over the place. Simple easy reassurance that love is everywhere if you notice. It always connects you with truth, often brings laughter or tears. It makes you grow even if you’re only observing.

Okay, I’m needy and sentimental. So?

Happy Valentines Day.