February 11, 2011 2:37:00 PM
"Oh God. Valentine''s Day tomorrow. Why? Why?" Helen Fielding (1996)
Tomorrow may be the holiday that inspires more angst than all the others combined. Love can seem elusive, meant for other people.
It''s easy to understand why the anguish. We have been bombarded with ads for candy and flowers, not to mention expensive jewelry. How much pink and red and lavender can our visual sensibilities stand? Everyone else in the entire world appears to have such a perfect romance. Even those of us with wonderful spouses or partners may feel a bit left behind.
This is the occasion to fight depression with the heavy artillery. I''m talking about chocolate. Forget diets. Do not wait for a handsome prince or princess to bring you that heart-shaped box. Lonely hearts, take action. Go out and buy a giant, red treasure chest of gooey, dark mood enhancers. You deserve flowers, too.
Once in a while, even the most potent and decadent anti-depressants fail. (And, of course, my apologies to diabetics.) Sometimes, though, real love is the only thing that can cure the hurt of a hollow heart.
But wait. Before you call "The Millionaire Matchmaker" or log onto match.com, consider another approach to finding love. That is giving love.
Love multiplies. Sometimes a mother wonders if she could possibly love a second child as much as the first. But hearts are elastic, expanding to include all children, biological or otherwise. There is always more room. (However, this was not true for the Grinch, whose heart was "two sizes too small." There is usually an exception. )
The Golden Triangle area offers so many opportunities to share our love. The United Way has lists of places where volunteers are greatly needed. What can be more generous that feeding the hungry? We have Loaves and Fishes for just that purpose.
For lovers of history, The Stephen D. Lee Home uses docents. (You may even get a chance to meet a real ghost.) With Spring Pilgrimage just around the corner, many of our historic homes welcome hostesses. Believe me, wearing those hoop skirts for an afternoon is great fun. Especially since you get to take it off and don your comfy clothes later.
Of course, my favorite way to share love is to help animals. There is a lot of love to be found at animal shelters. Unfortunately, no one can save all the homeless "children." You may enjoy spending a few hours walking them, or bathing them or just visiting.
Maybe you just do not have the energy for that sort of volunteerism. A small (or, not so small) monetary donation is always welcome. I try to remember Cedarhill Animal Sanctuary whenever possible. They are doing the work of angels.
Roy Rogers once sang, "A four-legged friend, a four-legged friend, he''ll never let you down." I totally agree.
I do expect to eat some truffles or chocolate-covered cherries tomorrow. That will make me so happy I can write a "lovely" check to a cause I care for.
I send all my readers a big hug and my wishes for a Valentine''s Day filled with candy and love and perhaps a bit of romance. (Allow me to add a very special billet-doux to my wonderful husband, Chris, and my four-legged "editors," Cordelia, Charlotte and Loa.)
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.