Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day used to be fun. When I was in primary school, we made little cards with silly riddles and rhymes on them and secretly left them in the desks of our friends. We would giggle as we waited to see which boy the recipient would turn to, hoping he was the anonymous sender; then we would tease her at playtime, chanting 'We know who's your sweetheart.'  All quite innocent fun which turned to more serious stuff as we reached our teens. In my all-girls school, February 14th was a day to be dreaded: would we have one or more valentines to flourish triumphantly or would we have to slink away shame-faced? Oh, the agony of being fourteen. As I remember it, we didn't care about the boys who might have sent the cards but about our social status in the form room.

Romance came much later and Valentine's Day took on a serious note in the days of dating and waiting: waiting for the telephone to ring and the postman to arrive. The agonies of youth! I hope that modern youngsters still experience some of this, even in these days of social networking and instant messaging. Waiting, even if it is sometimes painful, is an important feature of life. How can we learn appreciation if we haven't experienced both anticipation and disappointment?

I have been reading about an unlikely couple who found  romantic love late in life. The great preacher, Henry Grattan Guinness (1835 - 1910) was a lonely widower when he met and fell instantly in love with Grace Hurditch in 1903. Henry had prayed for five years that he would meet someone who would fill his heart with love and this is the poem he wrote in thanksgiving when Grace  marryied him:
She has come to my arms, she has come to my heart.
And the dream of my soul is fulfilled
And the love that unites us shall never depart,
Nor the love that our union has willed.

O thanks to the Giver, O thanks for the gift,
From the gift to the Giver we turn;
From the bliss he bestows to himself we uplift
The hearts which with gratitude burn.

There is heaven below, there is heaven above,
And they answer like ocean and sky;
For heaven is found in the bosom of love,
In spirit to spirit made nigh.

Happy Valentine's Day to all. If you didn't receive such a beautiful, personal verse today then I hope you have the memory of one to make the day special.


  1. I think the hard thing about this day is the expectation, the pervasive advertising that this is a big day for love. I try to stress all the kinds of love - that this day can be a celebration of friendship, family, a good dog.

  2. Nan, I agree with you. I'm afraid that all of our traditional celebrations: Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day etc have been damaged by commercialism. I hate to sound like an old curmudgeon but we did appreciate things more when they were long-awaited treats rather than opportunities for massive material indulgence. I hope you are having a good day with your lovely family and that good dog!

  3. Happy Valentine's Day to you too!
    Sometimes life's rhythm together provides a poetry of it's own that is sweet :0)

  4. Val, I'm sure that happy family life is the sweetest poetry of all.

  5. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your Mister!


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