Pillsbury sugar cookies with hearts. That’s what I envisioned to complete the Valentine’s care package. They had always been Carolyn’s favorite, and I was determined to find them. But after searching several stores I came up empty-handed. No heart-designed cookies. In desperation, I bought a backup – ones with R2-D2 images. As Valentine’s Day approached, I kicked up my cookie search but to no avail. Star Wars cookies it would be. Not my best Valentine’s care package, for sure, but at least the contents would taste good.
As the aroma of cookies filled my home, thoughts flooded my mind. What is love? Why set aside one day to celebrate it? Has it lost its meaning and just become an obligation? What’s with the red roses and heart-shaped boxes everywhere I turn? Is it all just a conspiracy orchestrated by Hallmark, florists, and candy shops? My mind stirred as the cookies baked.
While they were cooling, I smiled as it hit me. These “wrong” cookies actually confirmed what I know to be true. Love is more than a feeling, it’s a force. Love energizes people to be their best – to get in shape, find a job, forgive an injustice, get a life, finish a degree, conquer an addiction, join a church, or pursue a goal that may not even seem possible. Love can be an empowering force for good although, tragically, when misguided by motives like pride or control, it can lead to evil and destruction.
So what’s the source of this force? Where does love come from? For me, God is the only answer – the author of love. I believe Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus who was imprisoned in Japan and later lived in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell, sums it up perfectly with his famous prayer called, “Fall in Love.”
“Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
Love is a force.
And may the force be with you – not only on Valentine’s Day but all year long.