Writer, author, memoir teacher. I write about the connections we find by giving each other the time and space to be heard.

Valentines, Black history and 2023

Photo by Jasmine Carter on Pexels.com

It’s Valentine’s Day, the day we celebrate love. Here in Bucks County, PA, 23 weddings will be performed at the county courthouse. Six proposals were made on live TV on the Today show in New York City this morning. Anywhere you look, you can find articles about how to handle this day. Single women have Galentine’s Day on February 13th to celebrate their women friends, stemming from an episode of the TV show Parks and Recreation. People give gifts and cards to those they love, especially romantic partners. I hope it’s not too fraught for others, but I know it can be. I really do like celebrating love.

All of February is Black History Month. Which we certainly need, because for so long the achievements of Black Americans have been underpublicized, underappreciated and underrepresented in news and media of all types. It’s a time for me to remember my friend, the late Laura Mitchell Keene, who allowed me to edit her memoir. Her story spans the 20th century, and Black history from Jim Crow to civil rights marches to Black power to Black Lives Matter. She lived and loved through it all.

As for 2023, the Gun Violence Archive has so far counted 65 mass shootings in the U.S., defined as incidents in which four or more people were shot or wounded. This morning, we hear of another, on a college campus in Michigan. Which means anywhere. Russian soldiers continue to pummel the people of Ukraine with bombs and missiles. Shoddy construction cost thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria’s earthquake. I could go on. And so could you. There is so much we can’t control.

Where is Love with a capital L? I believe it’s another word for God, and it permeates the Universe. We sometimes ignore it, hoard it, withhold it, disdain it, reject it… and long for it. All without remembering it is a power always within us, to give and share. Instead of waiting for that gesture of love, let’s make one today. Call a friend. Visit a lonely person. Even the one nobody likes and that’s why they’re lonely.

I like to send cards – birthday, get well, thinking of you – to people I’ve lost touch with over the years. It surprises them and makes me feel connected somehow. Maybe that’s love too.

In a country and world so in need of it today, what else can we do for love?  

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