On this Valentine’s Day, an appreciation for National Geographic’s offering on love:
"It doesn’t matter who how or what you love…just love it fully. In this case, Ben Masters’ love for Mustangs pulled him to drive a small group of horses from Mexico to Canada to raise awareness for our native wild breed. Happy Valentine’s Day…hoping your love takes you on big adventures."
Photo by Cory Richards
Anger is masterful at painting the illusion of separateness, the tunnel vision that severs and frays the bonds of relationship and distorts our memory for joy. Perhaps this is why the command “love your enemies” is so magnetic — because I know that anger reduces my world to a single color, and I long for the many-hued brilliance of the full picture.
That moment, when I chose anger over love, I lost something deeply precious, something magical and inexplicable and nearly impossible to describe.
I am reminded of a remarkable interview of Jack Leroy Tueller, a decorated World War II veteran. His incredible story says more about the power of loving your enemies than I could ever put into words:
"This is two weeks after D-Day. It was dark, raining, muddy. And I’m stressed so I get my trumpet out. And the commander said, ‘Jack, don’t play tonight because there’s one sniper left.’ I thought to myself that German sniper is as scared and lonely as I am. So I thought, I’ll play his love song."
Read the full reflection on Tueller and grieving the space between us.
I’ve been quietly humming this achingly beautiful rendition of the German love song Lili Marleen today. With gentleness and grace, it captures that sweet sorrow of one scared and lonely man reaching out to another.
We can love with our minds, but can we love only with our minds? Love extends itself all the time, so that we can even love with our senseless nails; we love even with our clothes, so that a sleeve can feel a sleeve.
Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
"When people would talk to me about you’re gonna beat this or you’re gonna slay cancer or you’re gonna — I would say what I’m gonna do hopefully is become more of who I was meant to be. And cancer has given me this huge, dramatic, turbulent opportunity to do that."
Eve Ensler is the playwright and performer who brought The Vagina Monologues into the world. She’s famous for giving voice to disruptive, healing stories of women’s bodies and women’s lives. But it was cancer that helped her make peace with her own.
“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in we’ll become too soft. But a wise man named Levin said it right. He said, ‘Love is the only rational act.’”
— Mitch Albom, from Tuesdays with Morrie
Two revelers kiss each other covered in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images)