Last year, I dreaded the thought and ceremonials that was Valentine’s Day. You can read about it here. Are my views any different this year? Probably not.
This year, St. Valentine caught us right at the beginning of a work week and I don’t see how we can wiggle out of this one especially for the teeming population of Nigerian lovers who have bosses they need to answer to on Monday and Wednesday morning.
Even the sudden illness call card won’t genuinely work this time around. Anyways, go out all the same, have fun with your partner when you can both squeeze out time and make it count. Life is genuinely too short to live on the safe lines.
When I was younger, we had these ‘relationship’ seminars in school – university, that is. I was born Catholic so it would usually be presided over by a priest or reverend sister or an elderly, married church member.
The goals were apparently to help us see and do this love thing the right way although looking back now, I’m not certain how effective they were in clarifying idealistic questions that I had about love. It still was pretty much a concept to me for a long time afterwards.
One of the frequent questions that came up in those seminars and specifically from the female members of the audience was ”how do you know if a guy loves you?” It always seemed like an easy question to answer until thought deeper.
Take Nigeria and Nigerians for example; we genuinely do not know what good governance truly is but we do know what bad governance looks and feels like. Very intimately at that, sadly.
We know bad governance is hiding sums that are almost a third of the national budget in two deep freezers in your home while Nigerians are suffering the rising costs of petroleum products daily. I digress.
Our instructors then would ask that we refer to 1st Corinthians 13; the signs were there, blatant for all who cared to read.
Love is patient ; Love is kind
Love does not keep track of wrong; Love is not jealous
Love does not envy or boast…
But, sometimes we get mad at someone we love and we do not love them any less. We loose our patience with a friend or a brother or parent but our love hasn’t changed. Sometimes they do something hurtful like humans are prone to doing and we do not forget completely even when they apologize yet we still love them and care for them. Jesus got angry with the guys conducting various businesses at the temple and chased them out angrily, with whips but I bet you, he loved them still and desired the best for them!
For me, the lines were always blurred. As I grew older, I developed a new and more effective analytical method. If I am not clear on what this may be, I might as well be pretty clear on what it is not. By so doing, I begin to shine some light on the other half and gain wholesome clarity.
Love is not;
…a one day celebration. It is eternal and outlives the boundaries of time.
…fancy gifts and fancier talk. A few years ago, while trying to nurse myself back to emotional health, I met someone who I became very close friends with at that time. One thing I will always remember him for was a mantra he taught me which I am yet to forget; love is action not sweet words. I have never forgotten that till date.
…perfection. Except you are carved in stone or framed in a painting on a wall, it is unreasonable to think that love is the explosion that results from the meeting of two perfect people in perfect settings. The books and movies that lead you to believe so are created by imperfect people who have been blessed with the avid mind to create perfection on the pages of books and on screen.
…physical beauty and attractiveness. Has a guy ever met you for the first time and told you they loved you? Guys, has a lady told you that before? I used to think these were things that happened in the Mills & Boon novels I read back then but alas they did happen in real life. Love is not my face, or my hair, or how suave I look neither is it how strong my #beardgang game is. Definitely not.
…needing someone so bad you forget how amazingly strong you can be. This is idolatry actually. And this is how the music maestros convince us to make them chart toppers in the industry.
…pain and hurt and needing oxygen if someone is not in your life. Again, this is idolatry.
…abuse and neglect and being put down. Love is not superiority, it is also not being subdued and at the mercy of another’s whims.
…an emotion. Love is not like anger or happiness or anxiety or worry that pass with the dynamics of your surroundings.
…an inhibition, self limiting, or draining.
…you. Love is not self-seeking.
The Quiet One