is a little more personal than most. I make no apologies,
as I consider the subject of this message a vital
part of my own and everyone's spiritual well-being.))
Day, I'm separated from my own special Valentine,
my lovely wife Bonnie. Her picture is shown on this
page, taken on a trip we made to Florida in 2001.
I think you can see why I love her so much. And as
beautiful as she is, she is twice as smart, three
times as talented, and four times as sweet.
We've been separated
since October. We're both in the Air Force and she
was sent to Virginia as a consequence of 9.11. I miss
her dearly, and Valentine's Day has just made it all
I've read with
some interest lately two new articles about Valentine's.
Both of these articles were pulled from the Yahoo
News website. (To find them, go to Yahoo News and
search on the term Valentine.) Here's one quote: "Hindu
nationalists marched to parliament and burned Valentine's
Day cards Wednesday to show their opposition to the
growing influence of Western culture in India. The
20 nationalists waved religious saffron flags and
demanded Valentine's Day celebrations be banned in
predominantly Hindu India. They called the cards obscene
because they show young couples embracing and kissing."
Last year, this
same group entered restaurants Valentine's day, turned
over tables and forced many young couples to flee
for their safety. I think we've all been exposed to
a little too much religious fundamentalism over the
past several months. And it really doesn't matter
what religion. There are Christian fundamentalists,
Islamic fundamentalists, Jewish fundamentalists and
apparently now Hindu fundamentalists. I must say that
fundamentalists of all types are responsible for so
much of the hatred and violence throughout the world.
Look at Israel and Palestine, look at India and Pakistan.
The belief that "our way of thinking is the only way"
and the use of violence to back up that belief, is
the greatest evil facing our world today.
We should all
be fighting as hard as we can for the opposite viewpoint.
The opposite view can be summed up in one word: FREEDOM.
We must fight as hard as we can for freedom. Freedom
of thought, freedom of belief, freedom to pursue happiness,
not someone else's idea of what happiness should be,
but our own personal ideal. Freedom goes beyond the
political realm. Freedom is essential to maximize
personal and spiritual development.
If the fundamentalists
don't like Valentine's cards…fine, don't buy them…but
don't try use intimidation to try and bully others
to agree with you. If you don't agree with your neighbors
because they happen to be Jewish or Hindu or Moslem,
fine…you are free to believe your way…just allow them
the right to believe their way. You may be surprised
when you get to know them, and you move beyond externalities,
how similar your beliefs actually are.
Here's a quote
from another, more positive article about Valentine's
Day: "As romantics sent cards and red roses, the World
Heart Federation said: Valentine's Day lovers have
another reason to celebrate today as findings show
that being in love and being loved helps to keep us
healthy and is particularly good for our hearts. The
federation said that many published studies show that
psychological risk factors as well as physical ones
are involved in heart disease. In one five-year study,
10,000 men at high risk of developing angina (heart
disease-related chest pain) were asked, "Does your
wife show you her love"? Those who said "Yes" had
half the risk of getting angina. Another study had
followed 1,400 men and women with coronary artery
disease. After five years, 15% of those who were married
or had a confidant were dead compared with 50% of
those who were unmarried and had no confidant."
I think love
is what the Hindu fundamentalists protesting Valentine's
Day, and indeed all fundamentalists are missing. If
love truly fills your heart…you can't hate your neighbors,
no matter what religious or political beliefs they
may hold. We must fight for freedom, we must fight
for love. And the best way to fight is to start within
ourselves. We need to
strive to fill our hearts with unconditional love.
We need to not judge others, and allow them their
freedom. We need to teach our children these things.
We need to be examples to those around us.
ago, I hungered to find out more about love. What
exactly was it? It was missing from my life. I read
many books, but it wasn't until I met my sweet wife,
that I discovered the answer. And each day I learn
more and more about it. Love has to be experienced.
It has to be freely given, and freely received. There
are all kinds of love. The love between friends, the
love between a parent and a child, or brothers and
sisters. But to me, the ultimate love is that between
a man and a woman, a true partnership. When it is
right, it goes beyond romantic love to a spiritual
level. For me, that type love opens the door to understanding
the love that God has for all his creations.
I am thankful
to God for sending me an angel for me to love. Who
showers me with love. Who loves me for who I am. Who
helps me understand the importance of this concept.
I hope this Valentine's day, you take an extra moment
to tell those you love, how you truly feel. Don't
let there be any doubt in their mind. Share your love
so your understanding may grow, and maybe those of
us who feel and understand this love will be able
to teach the others what life is really all about.
Not hatred and scowls and burning, but love and smiles