Real Love (Is Not Hot Pink and Doesn’t Smell Like Chocolate)

“They didn’t do it for individual glory. They did it because they loved one another.” ~Vince Lombardi


Happy Valentine's Day, all!

As I’ve been slowly reading this 500-page biography of Vince Lombardi (it’s When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss, which I highly recommend,) I’ve been surprised in many ways. Lombardi, despite his devout Catholicism, was certainly no saint. He was gruff and results-oriented, often alienated his family, and got players to actively despise him. While reading this book, I’ve come across numerous passages where I’ll stop, re-read, and really consider the meaning. That’s the best sort of book for me. Last night, there was one of those moments. I can’t recall the quote verbatim, but a former Packers player was recalling a locker room speech in which Lombardi was speaking on the meaning of real love. It was not, the coach said, the ability to love something that is beautiful or talented or agile. Anyone can do that. Real love, he argued, was the ability to love with your heart and your soul that which is damaged, ugly, or deficient in some way. His implication was that players should love one another as teammates, but the words have meaning beyond the football field.

There are three types of love, according to philosophers and theologians: erotic love, based on physical attraction, philos love, more of a friendship connection or shared intellectual bond, and agape, the kind of unconditional love practiced by Jesus and the Buddha. Agape is the sort of word for which there really is no adequate English translation. The closest might be selfless love, or unconditional love.

My antipathy for Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark holiday” or contrived celebration of love is pretty obvious. If you truly love someone, why limit your expressions of love to one day? So the florists and candy manufacturers can make a quick buck?

Ferrets smell like chocolate

True love, like the true meaning of Christmas or Hanukkah, should not limit itself to one day. How could it? (For those of you who are Princess Bride fans like me, I also happen to believe that death is no obstacle for true love.)

This February 14th, instead of buying an overpriced bouquet or stale box of cream chocolates. show some love. Get in touch with an old friend. Walk your dog…for a good hour or so. Visit a relative in an assisted living home, or better yet, bring that person a nice little gift. Forgive that old grudge. Look at yourself in the mirror and say that it’s OK to not be a perfect airbrushed specimen from the cover of a magazine. Bake some cookies and take them to the local police station or fire department. Thank a veteran for his or her service. Go to the animal shelter and spend time socializing a shy cat or dog. Compliment a stranger on his or her clothes or jewelry. Buy a cup of coffee for a homeless person. Tell your parents or grandparents “thank you.” Leave a little surprise gift for a co-worker who’s single. Give your significant a copy of his or her favorite old TV show or movie. Leave a dollar bill in a library book with a note to pass it on. Make a handprint heart and give it to a child. Smile at a stranger in the checkout line or on the bus. Have a crush on a celebrity (it’s okay within reason). Dress up in an evening gown or a tuxedo, then invite a friend to dinner. Read a beloved poem aloud to someone who needs love.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that there’s enough artificial love, mylar balloons, and foil candy hearts in the world as it is. It’s easy enough to love those things. Why not try to challenge ourselves not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day, to demonstrate real love?

John Lennon was right…all you need is love, provided it’s the right kind. Happy Valentine’s Day to my readers! Spread the love!

Can I get an "Awwww?"

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on February 12, 2011.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


You - philosophical, thoughtful, witty. Me - still thinks fart jokes are funny. We should DEFINITELY get together!

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