This isn’t exactly a traditional valentine, is it? Real valentines don’t come in blue, but this one does. The blue ceramic heart came from my mom and I could not imagine how I would use it at first. But then I contemplated just how many romances and “true loves” go awry. Maybe the blue (read “sad”) heart is a bigger reality than the red, pulsing one, I don’t know.
I have been married to my husband for 33 years and counting, so I would seem to have the perspective of a survivor. The first set of friends we had who divorced was in about our fifth year of marriage. We had seen them through the latter part of their courtship (now that’s an old-fashioned term!) and their wedding, and we helped them move across the country to start graduate school together, and then we moved to the next state adjacent to them, and we visited each other monthly, and then one day they called and said that they could not come that weekend because they were getting a divorce. It felt like someone had died.
Since then, we have had several friends who have divorced each other while we were friends, but more often, we are friends with those who have divorced in the past, before we knew them. I could not even count how many friends have been romantically involved with another, but have not taken the step of declaring an intention to each other and to their community to make the relationship permanent , who have broken off the relationship because of disappointment or anger or boredom. There are so many hurt people in the world!
I wonder if we, as a group, expect both too much and too little of our closest ties? To think that having the romantic love of another person will solve all our problems is laughably wrong, yet people often hope that, “just this once”, the usual reality will be suspended and romance will save their dreams. At the same time, people who have been married 50, 60, or even 70 years, talk about the ups and downs of their closest relationship as being a common thread that weaves two people into a rich tapestry of history and of life; a new fabric woven partly of habit, but not undone by pettiness or anger or competition. Is this the thing that most of us do not trust- that, if we choose another person who has this same dream of fidelity and dedication, and the flexibility to meet us in the middle, that we, too, can “hang in there” until the cloth is complete? Until all this is sorted out, here is a blue valentine in memory of all romantic love which has evaporated or exploded, leaving unhappy people searching for the next great hope. Clearly, we have a common desire that life is better than this.