Octo Observations: About Love

Valentine’s Day 2021 is history. Some bouquets are still blooming, while snowy, icy winter weather is plaguing much of the USA. Our city has had its fair share, and in Virginia, that is not the norm. More ice is expected with nary a ray of sunshine in more than a week!

BUT, we enjoyed Valentine’s Day on Sunday, and Love was all around us…..or at least it felt that way to me. Having salvaged the remaining live posies from two beautiful birthday bouquets, gifts sent by three of our offspring families, another gorgeous arrangement arrived from our Connecticut chickies. How pampered I felt…..especially since birthdays and Valentine’s Days no longer register in my hubby’s memory bank. Now I simply tell him the significance of the day! Then he is glad.

This Sunday I thought a lot about Love. And the tune from Burt Bacharach’s 1965 famous, “What this World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love,” played over and over in my head. When one has been on this planet as many years as I, and when one has loved the same man for at least 65 years, and one has a family of glorious adult children, grandchildren and two great grandchildren, one KNOWS Love. It is precious. It is nirvana. Love is to be cherished each and every day. Love is the most important gift of life, regardless of age.

When babies are born they are welcomed and loved automatically by their parents and extended families. When teenagers discover hormones that attract them to the opposite sex, they are sure that they have found LOVE in Bloom…..And when young couples marry, they believe they will remain gaga in love all the rest of their lives. Some do, but many don’t these days.The definition of commitment is so different now than 60 some years ago when John and I were married. We believed in marriage through thick and thin.

And why is that? Times change. Morals evolve, and young people seek change. My radio guru Dr. Laura Schlessinger “preaches,” that “no one under the age of 28 has any business to be married.” Why? They are “not mature enough,” she says. And when a young caller in her early twenties announces she has moved in with her boyfriend, Dr. Laura pounces: “You are being a Shack Up Sweetie…….” And that is a “stupid decision”…..and if the youngster is in college and expecting to be supported by parents, Dr. Laura says, “No way. If you are going to be an adult, then you find a way to support yourself.” Dr. Laura is tough. But, she is wise.

As we seasoned adults look at our world today, we view it through a lens frequently clouded by past mistakes and decisions. We look at our grandchildren and wish that we could spare them the trials and tribulations that life brings each one of us. But we know that it is through living that we learn.

Recently our darling Seattle granddaughter called me in tears. One of her closest friends, newly 30, was walking her two beloved dogs, accompanied by two friends, on a California road. Suddenly, a car driven by a very drunk person swerved onto the shoulder and instantly killed the girl and her dogs, also injuring her friends now hospitalized in critical condition. Our precious “Missy Fishy” (my nickname for this beautiful first-born granddaughter) had never lost a dear friend before…..she is only 26….and had no idea how to cope with the devastating news.

As we talked she gained some solace from remembering  the happy times of her friendship….Yes, it is painful beyond measure to lose someone you love, whether it is a friend or a close family member. And this week, our 55 year-old son called to tell us that one of his long time best friends and golf partners succumbed to terminal cancer, leaving a wife, two college age children and a youngster still in high school. For months Sam had stayed in close touch with his friend, living in London, and decided the best way he could help was to send daily messages about golf and fun outings…..shared sometimes with wives and children.

With love frequently comes pain, but without love there is an inexpressible void in anyone’s life. As I look at our world these days, I ask myself why there is so much anger and mean spiritedness? Why are people arguing, slamming and berating each other? Why can’t we realize how very precious and short life can be? If we all stopped to think, then we would not waste time or energy attacking others. We would be more accepting. We would find the goodness in each other’s hearts, and we would be grateful for every good day on this earth. I realize how very short life can be, especially when one loves his or her life.

When John and I were married in September 1957, our minister recited Chapter 13 of I Corinthians during our service. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the words of this Biblical passage, for it expresses a way of living to which each of us should ascribe.

It is a forever favorite of mine as it articulates “faith, hope and love,” the greatest of these is “love.” Agreed. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS…..” 

Yes, love will carry us through many difficult times, even unto the end of our lives…or the end of someone else’s life whom we adore beyond measure.

So celebrate this month of Valentine’s Day love….with all your hearts and try to share a measure of your love with someone else each and every day. It will only give you JOY and Peace as you celebrate Love in Abundance.

Joy Nevin is the author of Joy of Retirement – Live, Love, and Learn. Click to buy on Amazon.

Top photo: Bigstock

About Joy Nevin (66 Articles)
Joy Nevin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, attended Connecticut College for Women for two years until she married John Nevin in 1957. Four children later, with twelve corporate moves in 20 years, the family learned flexibility. In 1990, with a nearly empty nest, Joy and John moved to Richmond, Virginia where they put down roots. Now in her eighties, Joy is the author of “Get Moving: A Joyful Search to Meet and Embrace Life Transitions” (2002) and “Joy of Retirement: Live, Love and Learn” (2015). Since 2016 she has written numerous articles for Woman Around Town on downsizing, moving to a retirement facility and her current series, Octo Observations. She is also a proud Grammy of nine, great grandmother of two…..AND forever grateful to Charlene Giannetti for supporting her passion for writing!