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Mrs. Dreamer and Mr. Pragmatic celebrate Valentine’s Day…with true Love

by | Feb 13, 2021

A box of chocolates and lovely roses have long been considered musts for a proper Valentine’s Day celebration. But sometimes romance looks a little more like a guy with a socket wrench — or maybe a guitar.

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and at our house that can only mean one thing: There won’t be any greeting cards exchanged. Ditto for the chocolate-covered strawberries and red roses. After nearly 35 years of marriage, my beloved and I have long eschewed these fixtures of February.

There’s nothing wrong with them, of course. In fact, early in our marriage, we did these things. We were young and our kids were young; our love was still so new and unfolding. But something happens when a starry-eyed dreamer marries a down-to-earth, pragmatic engineer. It’s called reality.

I’ve only just begun writing today’s blog entry and I’ve already had two calls from Mr. Engineer, my sweetheart, from the confines of the hardware store. “Can you go out to the garage and go to the left? Look over there where I have all that crap.”

I’m dying of laughter at this point. The entire garage is filled with the aforementioned matter, if you ask me, but not to him. He’s the one spending his Saturday (after working a 50-hour week) fixing a car for a young woman of very limited means. That’s after he polishes the headlights on my Honda that has 185,000 miles on it. He’s a jewel, this man who swept me off my feet with his guitar and charmingly adorable accent back in 1984. And he’s more of a romantic than he might appear to those who don’t know him as I do.

Both of us share a love of reading, and while he sticks to the facts with non-fiction, I’m going to admit to something that makes some people roll their eyes: I’m a lover of romance novels. Not the modern sort, mind you. We’re talking pure romance — drawing room, not bedroom. The kind that makes the modern hook-up culture look all the more repelling for the emotional devastation it leaves in its wake. It is perhaps one of Satan’s most devious tricks that the so-called freedom of the sexual revolution has led instead to slavery to sin and anything but love.

Love that lasts is all about commitment and sacrifice. And when you get right down to it, love was never demonstrated better than by the Son of God who humbled himself, who made himself vulnerable and loveable as a tiny babe and then took on the entire weight of mankind’s sin and shame and died to set us free.

And the amazing part, the truly astonishing fact, is that He would do it all again for each and every person. You. Me. Us. Talk about a love story! His is a love that heals broken hearts, a love you can believe in and that always takes you back. A love that won’t quit until you are in His arms at last.

It’s what we were made for and nothing will ever satisfy the human heart until it rests in His.

God’s love for us is that of a lover who relentlessly pursues the beloved. And you find metaphors for it throughout many of what are known as “pure romance” novels. Just look at this line from Jennie Goutet’s “A Faithful Proposal.” The hero has fallen in love but isn’t entirely sure the young lady returns his regard. He says to himself: “I will continue to seek her out and see if her heart can be won.

And this is how our Lord Jesus thinks of each one of us as He pursues our hearts, seeking to win us. He looks past our scars and our weaknesses and our unworthiness and sees instead His beloved. He doesn’t want a formal or legal or distant relationship. He wants our heart. He wants our soul. He wants our very being and will stop at nothing to gain it.

There’s one particular tome that demonstrates this truth so poignantly that I’ve read it twice. Just pondering it now brings tears to my eyes yet again. Of the hundreds of books I’ve read in the last few years (the Soulful Catholic neither watches television nor plays games) one of the most touching is “The Memory of Us” by Camille Di Maio.

Again and again I’ve thought through the allegorical portrayal of God’s love for us within the pages of this novel. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t go into detail, but it raises, and then answers, profound questions about the meaning of love. What does it mean to truly love someone? And what does it mean to be loved?

My beloved and after a hike at Papago Park.

My husband, Mr. Just-the-Facts-Please, read “The Memory of Us” at my invitation and was similarly moved. We’ve had several discussions about this achingly bittersweet love story. (See what I mean? He’s actually a romantic at heart. Just a pragmatic one.)

Which brings me back to the subject of today’s blog entry: We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day Eve tonight by going to Mass together where we’ll receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ into our our hearts — two hearts that after all these years together, now beat as one. We’ll sing our hearts out at church, the way we always do and the way we always did as young college students. Remember how he swept me off my feet with that guitar of his? Those love songs he crooned back in the ‘80s were all for God, not for me. I remember saying to the 21-year-old version of myself, “Why isn’t he singing a song like that to me?

But then I realized that in loving Him, Creator of the stars of night, Lover of souls, together Pipo and I would be bound up in Love himself.

I can’t think of any better foundation for a lifetime of love.

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