The above illustration of a heart woven with my favourite flower, the hardy snowdrop - referred to by Alfred Lord Tennyson as fairy firstlings of the year - perfectly represents the month of February when we are reminded of romance, hearts, flowers, and perhaps send/receive Valentine messages to/from the special ones in our lives. However, during the past year we have had to develop creative outlets supporting us, despite isolation and being unable to connect in person.
A few days ago I had one of those anniversaries which, although spent alone, played out in ways that filled me with gratitude for the family and friends who have journeyed with me over the years, and for the current technology that enabled us to connect by telephone, mail, e-cards, e-mails or Skype. It included a complimentary birthday coffee accompanied by a very sticky bun covered with colourful sprinkles, and later a candlelight dinner with comfort food, washed down with a Guinness at room temperature - also my father's preference, often setting his beer by the hearth. Nearing the end of this Perfect Day (a song written by Carrie Jacobs-Bond in 1909, for which I have the now-tattered sheet music), I looked at some old photos, smiling at the memories, while enjoying an Irish Liqueur topped with whipping cream. For some whimsical, spur-of-the-moment notion I then went down a 'yellow brick road' and idly compiled the number of years I had known each person who had greeted this day, ranging from 3 to 65 ... current total, 790 years!!! Amazing!!!
There is an Old Irish Blessing that, in part, says: "May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home." The individual shared memories that came to mind warmed my heart and home with overwhelming gratitude.
Please consider the people on your journey - what you have shared and learned from one another, and not linked to only anniversary dates. Years back I heard about and adopted the term "NSR", often sending greetings for "no special reason", other than just to say "hi". Especially, but not only this month, take time to "romance you" - to light a candle, pour a glass of wine or beverage of your choice, acknowledge with gratitude how special YOU are. The world would be very different had each of us not shown up. Below are some lines that I received many years ago, which 'just happened' to fall into my hands a few days ago. Please take them to your heart and personalize their message as you read them. (Although Bob Dylan wrote lyrics with the same title in 1970, a Google search failed to identify the author of these words).
If not for you, there would be a place of emptiness in the heart of God.
If not for you, all the good you have done would still need doing.
If not for you, the spark of your ideas would not have ignited a fire in others.
If not for you, the key role you have played in life's drama would remain unfilled.
If not for you, at least one person would not have awakened to their dreams.
If not for you, someone who needed love would not have received it.
If not for you, the song of life would have missed a beat.
If not for you, your gifts would remain un-given.
If not for you, an animal might be homeless, and a garden left unplanted.
You have always made a difference. Who you are is important every day.
YOU are the face, the heart and the Soul of God.
May these words remind you that YOUR life IS a gift and a blessing to the world. I wish you a beautiful Valentine's Day, Family Day, and every day. Please love and be kind to yourself, and help others whenever and however you can ... listening to another can be the greatest gift you can offer.
Until next time, blessèd be to you. Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada