Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Valentine's Day again, you poor guys!

Seems every year I see more and more backlash against the commercial "holiday" of Valentine's Day. And I approve. Not since New Year's Eve has a single day caused more useless tension and worry. "Will I have a date?" "Will he buy me something good?" "If I'm alone on Valentine's Day am I a loser?"

It's especially hard for the guys on Valentine's Day. I told my nephew not long ago that I think guys get a raw much pressure on a single day. And it implies that if you don't perform well on this one day, your actions on the other 364 days of the year don't really count. Baloney.

One of the most romantic days of my marriage was also the most disgusting. And I was reminded of that this week, because the disgusting part happened again. I had food poisoning on Monday night. Last time it happened, Daniel not only shielded me from onlookers (he had pulled the car over to the side of the road just in time for the climax), but he also washed my clothes, cleaned the car, make sure I had the fluids I needed and not once gagged (at least that I could see). I wouldn't trade the feeling of being loved I had that day for a flawless diamond. I sure missed him Monday night.

It's simple. Treat each other with kindness every day. When you recognize a need, fulfill it if you can. Choose to be loving, even when you may not feel loving (like when she is puking on your shoes). And don't let society or a television commercial or even your significant other tell you that the rest isn't good enough if you "screw up" this one day. Don't fall for it.

My niece gave me a valentine with a 3-D picture of a cat and a chocolate heart taped to the back. Because I love cats and I love chocolate. And because she loves me. Which I already knew because she doesn't wait for a specific day to treat her family and friends with love. She does it every day.

Happy Every Day!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The meaning of life in one word - Part V

Continued from a series started in 2007 but never here to read from Part I.

A week ago right about now, my friend Greg was starting his day and had no way of knowing he would never settle in for the night in his bed again. He looked forward to a fun evening of playing cards with his friends. He was talking and laughing with those friends and his wife when the countdown clock of his life on earth ran down to zero.

At his funeral, his life-long best friend imagined what it must have been like when God greeted him at that moment. He described a scene with all of our friend's departed loved ones standing behind God, and God with His arms outstretched as He exclaimed with joy "here is my friend Greg!".

The end of our earthly relationship with this friend is painful, because we will never have another chance to laugh with him or get a hug from him or see his smile. But at least that pain is lessened with the knowledge that our friend is perfectly happy and at peace.

This man and his wife were surrounded by hundreds (yes, hundreds) of dear friends as we laid him to rest. But someone was missing, and this man's absence was the result of a situation more profoundly sad than our friend's death...the pain of relationships broken by careless words, resentment and unforgiveness.

My prayers this day are for the absent man. I pray for healing for the broken part of him, the part that took offense long ago and would not forgive. The part of him that clung to his resentment instead of letting it go. The part of him that caused him to say "no" instead of "yes" at a critcal moment.

It does not matter what came before that moment. Nor does it matter what I or anyone else thinks about what the absent man did at that moment. It doesn't even really matter if a certain group of souls does not survive as a community much longer.

What matters is what will happen when we stand before God when our earthly life is over. Will God welcome us with open arms, or will He say "you claimed to love Me, but..."?

Our relationships - all of them - are the meaning of our lives.