Valentine’s Day celebrates our connection to others- our partners, our family and friends. I know, it is a “Hallmark Holiday”, yet it is valuable as it reminds us not to take those we love for granted. On Valentine’s Day, we make a conscious effort to tell those in our life just how much they mean to us.
As February 14 approached, I found myself considering the phrase “The Love of my Life”. In its usual interpretation it refers to a person; the object of strong connection and affection.
However, as I mulled this phrase over, it occurred to me, there is another way to interpret, “The Love of my Life”; what if the subject of the sentiment was “Life”? Can you hear the difference? The Love of MY LIFE”? Maybe, it is clearer if we say “The Love FOR my Life”. It turns out both are grammatically correct: “He has a love of cars” or a “He has a love for cars”- it is clear that the subject is “cars”.
We don’t really have a day to reflect on and appreciate “Our Life”. Sure, we are reminded to practice mindfulness daily, but it is easy to get caught up in the mundane or our troubles and so, we often forget. But to take a moment to reflect on Life itself-being here, being present for that experience, is something we rarely do especially without a critical assessment of relationships, finances, etc. In those moments we are not expressing or experiencing our love for our life, we are simply critiquing it.
There is pain, loss and tragedy; both in the world at large as well as in our personal lives. Loss of loved ones, health issues, relationship ruptures and job loss are only a few challenges we face. Sometimes, these issues cloud our ability to realize we really do “Love Life”.
This morning, as the frigid winds blew, I awoke under a pile of blankets in a warm cozy house. Wrapped in my fuzzy old robe and slippers, I stumbled downstairs and made a pot of coffee. As the clean water came out of the faucet and filled the pot, Flint Michigan came into my head. In that singular moment, I retraced my morning thus far and realized that when I clear away the voice in my head that evaluates everything, my life is pretty good. I am not sleeping in a shelter and I have clean water: two very basic things that we take for granted, but people the world over, do not. Even in our country, these two basics are not a given for everyone.
Right now, heat is coursing through the ancient radiators, creating a cacophony of hissing and clanging. It is cozy warm in my kitchen. In a few moments, I will hold a steaming cup of coffee. While I wait for it to perk, I am aware of the light is pouring in, catching the prism hanging in my kitchen window refracting into a million small rainbows all over the walls. The window sill hold mason jars with forced Hyacinth bulbs which are starting to get very green. Through that window, I see full bird feeders waiting for visitors. There are tracks of wild life in the snow that is gleaming like multi-faceted diamonds. I feel a warm gush of appreciation and recognize it; this is Love for my Life.
Regardless of your circumstances, you are here. On this day when we celebrate and perhaps grieve, for the Loves of our Life, let us also celebrate the Love FOR our Life.
© 2016 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. She has a special interest in working with people dealing with life transitions. She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce which is available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback. She gets through winter in heavy sweaters and warm socks, devouring flower catalogs and making sure the birds are fed.