While the world is still reeling from, and hopefully on the path to recovering from the pandemic, time keeps on marching forward.
In 2020, February 14th was celebrated as it had been in every year prior. But the same day in 2021 will have a very different tone. Still, all of us will...no, must, find a way to celebrate the day with our loved ones, maybe even more so than we would without the pandemic.
The origin stories of Valentine’s day vary. Which one should you believe? The one where the namesake priest was killed for defying the Roman emperor Claudius II’s order forbidding young men to marry so they could be better soldiers? Or the one where another similarly named priest was imprisoned by the emperor for helping Christians, who ended up falling in love with the daughter of the jailer?
In Eastern cultures and history, love is just as integral a part of life, and it is manifested in many different ways. One sees it in the long, flowing Iines of Muslim women's dresses that exude modesty and beauty; or the selflessly self-absorbed twirling of dervishes who dance for God; in the extraordinarily intricate tile and mosaic handiwork of Turkish and Persian artisans; in mesmerizing calligraphic forms of the artists in the middle-east, Asia and all over the world. And when it comes to the written description of love, one of the most recognizable names not only in the East, but across cultures and history, remains that of Rumi. In his words, Rumi not only reminds us of love in this world, but also of the highest love of all, the love for God.
So, in the end, pandemic or not, February the 14th or not, love is all there is. Hold your loved ones, and tell them you love them.
“That which God said to the rose, and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty, He said to my heart, and made it a hundred times more beautiful”