Decadent chocolates, diamond bracelets, elaborate valentines cards. Young lovers gazing into each other’s eyes, dreaming of the perfect love.
A beautiful reminder that in a troubled world, that somehow, somewhere, there is always love.
But these images offer only a shallow glimpse of love. Oddly, we equate love with young love, with “being in love,” while overlooking the most beautiful love of all, that of old love. This is not the exhilarating flush of new love. It is the flame that flickers in the furious storm, yet leaps to warm the trembling heart.
Old love has seen glory and brokenness, trust and betrayal. It has known exhilaration and endured tedium. It has yielded to the warm
embrace and recoiled at the jagged word. Through it all, it was always love that soothed the chafing of the marital yoke.
The beauty of old love is not that of the unfurling rosebud. Like the facets of a diamond, this love is patiently sculpted and refined over years. It is nurtured by the light of understanding but withers in the darkness of anger. It flourishes on the rock of trust and crumbles on the shaky sands of deceit.
And old love is not merely finishing the race side by side. Such is only a sad counterfeit born of pride, cowardice or simple inertia. It is a lifetime of shared experiences, comfortable perhaps, but bereft of joy. The heart well knows the difference.
Old love is longing for the other and yet straining against the marital tether. It is knowing everything yet nothing about the other. It is melding into the other yet retaining oneself. It is freely sharing, families, children, sickness, possessions; all of it, all of life. It is unrelenting challenge; it is warm fulfillment. It is at once exhilarating and terrifying,
So to all young lovers this Valentine’s Day: Join us if you will. But know this: Old love must be earned. It will test your strength and challenge your resolve. It will require your best and forgive your worst. It will plumb your depths and expand your soul. And the rewards are beyond imagination for those who stay the course.
This blog is dedicated to my “old love” of 40 years. Happy Valentines Day, Sweetheart.