"Come with me from Lebanon, my bride...you have stolen my heart, my bride, you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes with one jewel of your necklace, how delightful is your love, my bride? How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice." Song of Solomon chapter 2
"He mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend." Song of Solomon chapter 5
"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fir like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love rivers cannot wash it away." Song of Solomon chapter 8
Hebrews put all human experience and expression into words, and love is no exception. Song of Solomon is the voice of love in the Bible. Tucked into the Bible at the end of the books of poetry: Job (profound); Psalms (emotions of the faithful); Proverbs (wisdom for faithful decisions) and Ecclesiastes (a mind wandering in search of faithful meaning) then Song of Solomon--the description of love (romantic love, sexual love) feels like and sounds like between two lovers in a marriage.
It is neither cheap, like our culture, nor is it priggish or embarrassed--much of the poetry is graphic capturing the physical expression of love and sex.
What is it then? Like all Scripture its true. Our heart yearns and desires to express love physically with someone we love completely. It's powerful, sensual and intimate and beautiful.
Which brings us to Valentine's Day. Note what I found on my desk this AM.
Inside it reads: I HATE VALENTINES DAY...but I love you!
Followed by a very sweet and affectionate note from hubby JR.
Well, Song of Solomon it's not. Why doesn't our modern day Valentine's inspire great expression of love (not that this card isn't a beautiful treasure of romance).
1. None of us like to be told what to do, think or feel. Valentine's Day creates an obligation more than an opportunity for expressing love. Men feel this annoying duty more than women, I think.
2. Valentine's is cheesy, as is the word cheesy and it sounds cheesy, its an onomatopoeia! I digress. Flowers, candy, cards, jewelry are fine amusements but they do not capture love, they capture amusement. They are delights, but not our heart's desire.
3. Valentines Day is like many holidays it's an artificial celebration, like Earth Day (April 22) or Family Day--a day to eat with your children (September 28). We know these "holidays" don't really merit a designated special day. I would add more, but I don't want to offend.
4. We as Americans lose perspective on the minor things. Instead of this being fun, we stress about the plans for our children's Valentines party, we have unreasonable expectations for gifts and response to gifts from our loved ones, we outfit our homes in the theme and spend loads of cash on something of little substance.
So, why did JR feel the need get me this card (and plan a getaway weekend) if I have such an objective impersonal, mature view of Valentine's Day? Well, the truth is I love it and I love it because I love him: I am not objective, impersonal or mature about it at all.
I love having fun with it, using it as an excuse to flirt and buy myself some pretty flowers. I like the sappiness of it, and I think I like it because I share life with a wonderful man who, in spite of his Scrooge/Valentine's Day posture, adores me and treats me with love and affection. He is a joy to live with and because of that, propping up a commercially driven day is to me, kinda fun.
Sappy, romantic, goofy...sign me up, for one day a year.
Valentine's Day is no Song of Solomon in capturing the passion and power of love (better than the Huey Lewis song)...but it can be fun and playful. Song of Solomon reminds me that what Valentines Day feebly points to, Song of Solomon captures with much more passion and power--but both are representative something amazing--the great gift and importance of love.
Whether it s a frivolous expression or a Biblical expression--it's pausing to appreciate a glorious thing--when humans get life right.