VD 2/14/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Valentine’s Day is about ten days away as I write this, but I’m certain that I’ll be spending it alone.  Again.  I’m not sure that I ever really had a chance with romance, though, as I was taught as a child that not only am I unloved, but that I would be incapable of ever finding anybody who could love me, and God help anybody who does.  Perhaps it was said in jest, but mean spirited jokes have an impact in the mind and heart of a young child. 

Today I am learning more and more about my childhood, and the impact it has had on me.  This has, in fact, been quite a difficult year of discovery in that regard.  These were lessons that I have carried with me and that have sabotaged my relationships all along. 

But despite the difficult of unlearning nearly 60 years of training, I’m still a hopeless romantic.  I want others to find their true loves and live a life of happiness and joy with another if for no other reason than so they don’t have to know a life of loneliness as I have.  Sadly, there are many people who are lonely.  Some have been alone pretty much their own lives, some don’t love the person they are with, and some have been betrayed by their love.  My heart breaks for anybody suffering with such a curse, and I hope that, if you are one of them, you’re really not alone.

Valentine’s day is a reminder for those of us making our way alone of what we are missing, and what we don’t, and in some of our cases (like mine), never will have.  It’s a brutal holiday for those who are without partners, but also a great celebration for those who have someone special in their lives.  It’s a time to renew love, to remind us to make that extra effort to let our loved ones know how important they are to us. 

Some people don’t like Valentine’s Day, believing that it has no purpose other than to tell people how they are supposed to behave.  I honestly feel sorry for anybody who feels this way.  When I was married, I loved Valentine’s Day.  I would use it to reflect on how I did trat my wife, and how I could do better on a weekly or daily basis.  And it was my chance to kick it up a notch.  One day not to celebrate her, as I did on her birthday, but specifically to celebrate what she meant to me. 

It’s kind of heartbreaking to write this in past tense.  I often consider myself a widower, not because my wife literally died, but because alcoholism changed her.  It killed the beautiful, young, charming woman that I had married, and left a bitter, angry and untrustworthy woman that asked me for the divorce, a request I too gladly honored.  I hope that, without me (as I was an enabler as I look back on our relationship), she has found her way back to recovery and has found her old self again. 

Whatever your relationship status might be, I do wish you the very best Valentine’s day.  Remember that you do deserve love, and if you are currently out of a relationship because you were not loved as you deserve, then this would be a great day to celebrate the relationship to come, the partner for whom you have made room in your life.  If you are in a relationship, what a great day to do something special to remind that person how important they are to you.  We were never designed to live alone (as I do).  We have two genders because were two halves of one whole. 

Maybe this started out as a greeting card company ploy to increase sales, but it’s a holiday that you can make as significant, or as insignificant, as you wish.  Some people are dreadfully disappointed when they aren’t spoiled on Valentine’s Day, but I honestly believe that this misses the point.  It’s not a federal (or even religious) holiday.  It’s just a reminder, a day to be a little bit nicer, to pamper our significant other a little bit more than usual, and to remind us of how important that person is and how they deserve to be treated not just today, but every day.  It’s a lesson to be learned, a goal to be reached, and a day to remind us of just how fortunate we truly are.


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