February is a funny little month. It tends to bring dreary looking days with grey skies and cold temperatures that keep us inside. The year ahead appears to be long and uncertain in February. Sunny vacations still seem far away. The trees are bare, lawns brown, and flowers mostly gone in February. As we plod through our work days and school days in February it is often difficult to arise in the dark of morning only to return home in the dark of night. February can be a tough month to navigate save for Valentine’s Day, a reminder that love is all around us.
In many ways February is much like the totality of our lives. There will be dark moments, dull moments, hard working moments that are tedious and difficult to endure. Almost always a joyful time comes along to remind us that what mostly drives all of humanity is love. Love is the way, the truth and the light. We celebrate love even when we may not even know that we are doing so.
Love stays awake all night hovering over a sick child or an aged parent. That same love arises early in the morning to prepare a household for the day ahead. Love prepares our food and then goes to work to provide more of it. Love patiently teaches us how to unlock the secrets of the world and how to be better people. Love mends our wounds and shows us how to laugh. Love accepts us just as we are. Love is our best friend sheltering us from the stings of hate. We find love everywhere, not just in a romantic setting. Love brings us gifts but understands that things are not what matter most for our happiness. We find love in the most unexpected places.
I suppose that it is fitting that just when winter seems almost unbearable we fill our spaces with images of cherubs and flowers and hearts. We take the time to utter or write the feelings that we have for the people in our lives. We are reminded that love is always among us if only we look for it and demonstrate it.
Chocolates are a tradition with love because they stimulate the serotonin in our brains. They literally create happiness. They chase away the dull feelings of sadness that lack of sun or isolation sometimes create. Gifts of chocolate are truly gifts of love.
We witness too much hate in the world. It can be so overwhelming that we begin to believe that it is a more powerful force than love. It is easy to become cynical and to believe that there is really no hope for tamping out all of the negativity, abuse and anger that surrounds us. We want to retreat into our own comfortable worlds and look away from the horrors that exist. It is natural to shy away from trauma. We get enough of it without purposely seeking it out, and yet we see exceptional people overcoming hate with love all the time. They take on the challenge of eradicating hate wherever they find it.
Jesus was love, but as both human and God he sometimes demonstrated the same doubts and weaknesses that we have. He gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life for each of us but had a brief moment of uncertainty when he asked God to take away the pain and suffering that he endured in death. All of our heroes of love still had feet of clay. We humans are capable of great strength and great failure all within the same lifetime. Our imperfections are part of our DNA, our essence. It is love that provides us with the courage and determination to rise above our frailties. Love has the power to conquer obstacles and to overcome hate.
This February perhaps more than most is filled with dark and foreboding challenges. We can answer the call to love or we can bow under the weight of hopelessness. Now is a time for harnessing the forces of love to become the light of optimism. While life may have taught us to be realistic and maybe even cynical, it should also have shown us how the power of love puts a lie to the idea that we cannot make our world a better, happier place to be. We have far too many models of love making a dramatic difference in the arc of history to believe that there is nothing we might do to contribute to positive change.
It is February. The world may appear to be dark and dreary but love is whispering in our ears and urging us to use its magic. Look around you. Search for the love. Be the love. Love is not always easy but it is always good. Get to work right now seeking and spreading love wherever you go.