Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is it in the cards?

        The one inch wide opening in the lid of the shoebox waited to swallow the validation I needed. The foil covered box with the randomly applied homemade hearts and adorned with ric-rac was what my young soul needed to help me know I was someone’s Valentine. The annual gesture of love and appreciation bestowed upon me from my peers finally arrived to where I would get the small folded tokens I desired to feel acknowledged, adored, perhaps even loved. Although the ubiquitous cards were as abundant as ticker tape in a hero’s parade, I cherished them as if “Be Mine” were a personal message from each young lady I had a crush on. Her personally scrawled, yet awkwardly scribed signature in the “from” line was intended for me to know it was from her, to me. Due to my initials: A. A. (Anthony Anders), I often sat in the first chair, first row, and got the first Valentines. I liked to feel, me getting the first cards was intentional. I see now getting them first was coincidental, getting any at all obligatory to each and every classmate. I still felt special. It was my choice.

        Later--- years after the tradition of placing the bi-folded gestures in a home-made box waned, I noticed a new tradition of exchanging flowers surfaced as a new way of dividing one another of those who had the adoration of another or others (plural) and those who apparently did not. Like feathers in the warriors head dress, the conquests visible for all to see, we were given the opportunity in our school as a fundraiser, the ability to buy flowers for our targets of affection. There were always the individuals who had bouquets so bountiful, they had to make trips to their locker to drop off the new acquisitions, to make room for more; and there would be more. I also remember the faces as they would light up with hope as the delivery person would appear with a bundle, and ceremoniously call out the names one at a time to pass out the tokens of love and adoration. I too remember the eyes of many cast downward in sadness as they were passed by. The problem being not only being passed by, but to get passed by again and again, in front of their peers, and then to leave school that day with no flowers in hand, both male or female. It must have been a long trip home feeling forgotten, unloved, and that the whole student body knew it. I can verify at times it was hard.

        As life progressed and the ability to take a date to a place nicer than one that has a clown for a mascot or super-sizing being part of the menu; I noticed the Valentine holiday became pressing as the awareness of being in a relationship, love, or even being “in-like” with someone was brought to the foreground of one’s priorities as the holiday approached. The “love holiday” often nudged us to realize we are to be coupled, to be searching for, or celebrating the love we currently have, or to get on the ball. Who wants to be eating take out Chinese on a TV tray watching movies on Pay-per-view, when the whole world is out on the town, in a romantic embrace, often paying twice as much for bad service in a dimly lit bistro? I remember feeling, “What is wrong with me?” “Damn you Hallmark”, I would curse to the heavens. I recommend Hunan Lion off Bethel Rd.

        My bitterness has long since faded as I refuse to substantiate how I am loved, by how many, or to what degree by the receipt of a card, flower, or chocolates, (Although I still love all the above.) I also find it hard to feel that 1/365th of my year is the benchmark to the relationships in my life as well as if I am worthy of love especially in respect to whether or not I get a physical token.

        I have been with my wife going on twenty years total, and we exchange our tokens. (She likes Anthony Thomas Chocolate covered strawberries.) I know enough about women and wives to know not to fumble there. If I do the story better include terrorists. I enjoy holidays as much as the next guy, but I have matured to realize that the gesture on one day does not make or break my love for others and the worthiness of receiving it. I also realize that even if one thinks that it is a “Hallmark” or consumerism holiday, it is often only a couple dollars and a few minutes investment to make a difference to those who cherish the gestures we bestow upon them consumerist or not. Most importantly I have found that the best Valentine was not created by Saint Valentine, but by Alexander Graham Bell. You can call your mother or father. You can call your kids. Call your spouse. Call your friends. If this is too personal for you, perhaps an electronic nod in the direction of those you appreciate or love is always nice to receive. Make Facebook worth your time for once. Take a lead from kids who make the best valentines, and I treasure every one I receive from mine (see above for this year's). The loving intention behind making the connection is a valentine in itself. One we can also do the other 364 days of the year.

        Love does not have to be reciprocated to be validated. Someone does not have to be aware of our love to make it real to us. Sometimes we have to love at a distance. What we send out, we get back. Remember this, don’t forget to love yourself. Show in your own best way to express your love for those who matter in your life. Profess your gratitude to your friends for their presence in your life. And finally, spend more time expressing your love than you do picking out your valentines.

I love you all! Happy Valentine’s Day 24/7/365...

           * Note - This post also found on my blog

Hi from Brum (Birmingham) Uk!

Hi everyone, thanks to Katherine I can join this wonderful group of writers and hopefully contribute something, some of you may like to read. I am now living in Birmingham UK with my two cats and two of my my three children. My eldest is living in Cyprus and is in the army doing his National service.

I am a school mentor which I love and I am passionate about writing. If I don't write I feel that I cannot function. I also like to draw and paint and find when I am having an off day and cannot write, I can get the creative juices flowing by using my right brain being arty.

I recently started a blog angelguided. It started off being a place where I can share what I have learnt on my journey of life and is a combination of self-help, reflections and inspirational poems.

I am creating a website called Angel guided mentoring where I will be offering spiritual mentoring and guidance. I have trained in counselling skills and I am a reiki practitioner, with angelic attunements.

I have a book in progress which is a book on grief and love. This is based on my Mother who passed away four years ago. I am starting a blog called Committed to Love where I will post from my journal, I kept the last months that I cared for Mum, my conversations I had with the Divine. I hope it will be a stepping stone and a catalyst to publishing my book, as well as giving people grieving solace and hope.

I also write on a site called and have many articles on various subjects, most being spiritual and on family and relationships.

Talk to you soon.

Love Letter

    Reflecting on the images of Valentine’s Day, the chocolates scanned at the cash register, men staring at the card rack putting card after card back into the slots and the florist vans scurrying up and down the streets, my mind drifted to love letters. The trees are shrouded in hoar frost this morning and the bunnies have left their foot print necklaces upon the snow. Valentine’s has come a day early and here is the love letter left to me, to you and to all.
“I am here. I cannot promise that I will be here tomorrow. If I am not, it will not be because I chose to leave. Sometimes the path we travel can take an unexpected turn. But for today, as you awake, know that I am here. Unlike your coffee, you do not have to wait for me to brew. My gifts, my smile, my laughter and touch are waiting for your eyes to open.   
Awaken my love and let the day begin. Awaken and grab hold of me as you did those Christmas mornings long ago. Squeal and grab hold of me with the same abandon you tore open the paper wrapping. Worry not, I have not bought you socks, and if I did, I promise they would be festive. Awaken my beloved and play with me for hours. Let me see your eyes grow big and sparkle with delight. No single day to say ‘I love you’ or present a bouquet of flowers. Look around my love the earth is your vase. I am here my beloved and I am yours.”

    If nothing else is remembered, if all reflections leave me, if my musing spirit grows quiet may be this be the one that remains with me. May I always call to mind the love letter each day leaves for me. May I greet each day with the anticipation of unopened opportunity, gifts and love. May each day be the best gift ever because I was brave enough to ask, to open. May my eyes be open, and bold to read the letter, Life’s Valentine, and in reading, to write my own and then give away.

Happy Valentine's Day of Life! Also posted on my blog.