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Mixed Emotions on Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2024


Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

Valentine’s Day.

The anniversary of the day we buried my oldest son.


Colliding emotions.


Grief over the suicide of a brilliant teenager.

Memories of garish Valentine’s Day cards and paper hearts stuck in my son’s casket.


Thankful and celebrative – married nearly 40 years to my best friend.

Till death do us part.


Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes. Mortality.

Love has its limits.


Ah, but Lent leads to Good Friday when

The cosmos shook and

Everything changed


Death. The day Elliott took his life he entered new eternal life

Not the way any of us would wish or choose, but

God knew his heart, his mind, his soul

Jesus met him, hugged him, escorted him home


Valentine’s Day. Love. Eros gets a bad rap.

Eros is desire

Falling in love

When all the colors of the world are brighter

Without my wife’s love, I would not have survived my son’s death


Lent. Ashes. We are mortal.

Generation after generation marches toward the ditch

I believe in the resurrection of the dead.

Death is not the end.

Jesus killed death on the cross.

Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Age-abiding, fullness of life, radical love awaits us

No more tears. No more sorrow.


Abraham believed God

God told him he’d have prodigy through Isaac

God told him to kill Isaac (or at least he thought that’s what God said)

How can those two things both be true?

Abraham reasoned that God would raise up Isaac alive from the ashes

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.

Ashes to resurrection.

Dust to eternal life in new bodies



All of creation, the entirety of the cosmos, all that is (including us) is moving towards a goal, a telos, an omega point. The goal toward which we travel is love –  ἀγάπη (agápē) – cruciform, other-oriented, all-inclusive, all-forgiving, all-accepting, unconditional love. All will be wrapped in, inundated, and saturated with pure and perfect love. Love will be in everything, over everything, under and around everything. As Julian of Norwich (c. 1343 – after 1416) said, “All will be well and all will be well, and all matter of things will be well.”


But in the meantime, there are wars, atrocities, injustices, and tragedies of all sorts. There is death, disease, and dictatorship. Teenagers commit suicide. Faith is the ability to endure, stick-to-it, hang in there, keep pressing towards the mark, continue on the path towards fulness and perfection in loving. Eyes on the goal when all will be swallowed up into Love, the contemplative mind understands that each day is a gift in which to be made more loving and more able to be loved.


Faith is trust. Trusting that love wins in the end. Amor Vincit Omnia. Dr. King paraphrased Rev. Theodore Parker when he proclaimed, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” “Behold,” says God incarnate, “I make all things new.” The great visionaries and prophets saw it from their mountain tops.


Faith is trust.

Hope is the motive.

Love is the goal.


Three eternal things: Faith, Hope, Love

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