“The love we give away is the only love we keep.” ~Elbert Hubbard
It’s Valentine’s Day, which means love is in the air even more today.
Whether you are spoken for or single, who doesn’t love to receive a little something for St. Valentine’s?
It can be a box of chocolates, flowers or a card, but letting someone you love know how much you care, is one of the most important gifts you can give—each and every day. In fact, sometimes the very act of just speaking or writing the words can mean more than the heart candies or cuddly teddy bears (though I am a fan of both!)
Recently I came across a book called Love Letters of Great Men and Women. If you’ve seen the Sex and the City movie you may remember that Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) was inspired by love letters while she was preparing to marry Big (Chris Noth).
It turns out the book is inspired by the film!
In it, letters from decades past are preserved for us to read. There are so many heartfelt words to luxuriate in. Nathaniel Hawthorne writes to his wife, while Beethoven pens a letter to his “Immortal Beloved.” Anne Boleyn sends a letter to Henry VIII and Queen Victoria scribes a love letter to Prince Albert—to name a few.
While some of the letters are for husbands or wives, others are tokens of love for lovers, mistresses, parents, family and dear friends.
Reading these letters made me think of how today we rarely take the time to speak from the heart.
We limit our love to 140 characters or a text covered in emojis, hoping that the abbreviations will still have the same emotion, deliver the same meaning. We write in acronyms and when we speak loving words we often don’t look each other in the eyes, since we are too distracted doing something else.
We don’t do these things to be cruel. We just do it without thinking because it’s become the norm; it’s become easy.
But what if once in a while, we skipped easy and pushed ourselves a little more?
What if we took a little longer to think from the heart about how we truly feel and what people mean to us?
What if we make the effort to share our genuine emotions in a more meaningful or memorable way?
Maybe that means a card that doesn’t just have your name quickly scrolled at the bottom. Maybe it means sitting down and writing a love letter. It doesn’t have to be for the love of your life. Maybe it’s a letter to your mother, your best friend, or your child.
If you like the idea, but feel like you may need some inspiration to get you going, here are a few of the beautifully phrased and touching sentiments from the book:
“My sweet rose, my delicate flower, my lily of lilies, it is perhaps in prison that I am going to test the power of love. I am going to see if I cannot make the bitter warders sweet by the intensity of the love I bear you.” ~Oscar Wilde
“Oh my darling one, how long you wander from me, how weary I grow of waiting and looking, and calling for you; sometimes I shut my eyes, and shut my heart towards you, and try to forget you because you grieve me so, but you’ll never go away…” ~Emily Dickinson
“I try sometimes to imagine to myself your face when you are old, and it seems to me that shall love you as much, perhaps more.” ~Gustave Flaubert
“And if you can’t come into the room without my feeling all over me a ripple of flame, & if, wherever you touch me, a heart beats under your touch, & if, when you hold me, & I don’t speak, it’s because all the words in me seem to have become throbbing pulses, & all my thoughts are a great golden blur…” ~Edith Wharton
“If I write any more, it would only be to express more lovings and longings; and as they are impossible to express, I may as well close.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Adieu. A thousand tender kisses.” ~Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Who would you like to share some love with?
Happy Valentine’s Day! May today and everyday be filled with all the love you want, and then more.