Native Writes: Love is commitment

Have you ever awakened with a blank slate as a mind?

The usual morning pain today proved I was alive and I thanked Jesus for that. Taking the usual trek to the restroom and arriving at the same conclusion, I struggled to the kitchen to see if the automatic pot had remembered to make coffee.

The cats were meowing to go out or be fed. I had to determine which. They never explain.

My coffee pot remembered, so I poured my mug full to the top. It has the word, “MOM” on the handle and multiple Disney figures on the side. They bought it at Disneyland, a place they visit on every special occasion.

Looking at the calendar, I noticed that it was Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. That hasn’t meant a whole lot since I had to give an “I love you” card to the kid who ate boogers in third grade.

It means a lot to others. I have had huge hearts filled with chocolate, rings and roses given to me and I have given generously in return, but my mind can’t wrap itself around the meaning of the day.

Sure, I sent nice greetings on Facebook to my “friends” there, but it was in accordance with conventional observance.

To me, love has always meant more than a naked cupid floating around shooting people with heart-shaped arrowheads.

The slate that is my mind was still barren of any real emotion. Those whom I love knew it, others could only guess.

I have witnessed the true commitment of a couple who both love education enough to take an inspirational leap and start a school that would truly educate its young students. That commitment is the image of love.

Long ago, I determined that commitment is the true embodiment of love.

I think God is bringing this home with the scheduling of Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day. A time of commitment to personal sacrifice began in the Christian world.

Watching the morning news, I was amazed that a member of the federal government appeared with a cross of ashes on his forehead.

People use public display of the ashes as a sign of commitment to the sacrifice commanded by the season.

A cross appeared on my slate. What would I give up? What could I sacrifice?

After years of making New Years Resolutions and determining what I would give up for Lent, only to yield to habit and fail, I decided to simply work hard and develop a new habit.

One new habit will make me more scholarly, to read more and think more critically.

As my body has yielded to age, I have faced the things I have taken for granted, but which have proven false,

I long ago learned to forgive and not hold grudges. It works for me, but others still tend to their grudges like their lawns. Nothing comes of it and it takes time away from things that do matter.

My new habit this year is to steer clear of feeling hatred. No one individual is worthy of this profoundly damaging emotion. I am allowing myself to greatly disapprove, but not to express the demonic wishes that come with hatred.

If something can be changed, I will work to make a difference, but merely watching TV newscasts and becoming angry about things that are beyond my reach takes me nowhere.

My slate is filled with one word: “VOTE!”

Okay, but what about love?

“Up to you,” the invisible hand writes on my mental slate. “This is just a small part of a 365-day year.”