In the first year of our courtship, Saint Valentine tripped up our otherwise amorous affair.  I thought you were a feminist and wouldn’t go for any of that, you said, lamely, meaning the scent of lilies opening on my desk or chocolates fed on your fingers.  So that I could inform you that in fact I would go for it all:  revolution and romance, independence and intimacy.   Yes, but for both of us.  Reciprocity, I countered, made it sane.

In the Februarys that followed, we tried to dance in the balance.  Once, I kidnapped you, stole you away to an inn outside town where we walked the chilly rice paddies at dawn and kindled wood fires in our room.  One year, you cooked lobsters and took me dancing in the dining room.  One year, we both made reservations at our favorite Italian hole in the wall without the other knowing:  same time, same place. 

Now fifteen years later, on this feast day of love, far away from you in a land that does not shower itself with rose petals and paper hearts, I want to tell you this:  what I have found in the fire of your heart is more than a revolution, more than romance — though these still burn brightly.  What I have found is love that is real.  Your affection is not merely the bubbly and sweet of holidays; it is the meat and bread I feed upon every day.  The strength with which you love my father, the tenderness with which you care for your own father – this is the table you set before me.  And the presence you bring to our depths — how you lie down with me beside still waters, how you walk with me, yea, through the valley of the shadow of death – this is the cup I drink.  It is overflowing. 

Today, somewhere in India, I will go to a temple of love.  I will anoint my head with oil and give thanks for you.  I will ask for goodness and mercy to walk with us all of the days of our life; that we may dwell in the house of love, real to the ground, forever and ever. 


~ by Stephanie on 02/14/2010.

2 Responses to “And.Love.Shepherds(me).”

  1. wow. just wow.

  2. I continue to be moved by the deep connection, reverence, devotion, and love that you have for your father. Your words honor him!

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