February 7, 2011
I will always remember Valentine’s Day, February 14th 1967 back in Grade 7. My best friends celebrated Valentine’s Day by having each of us name the 10 girls we liked best in order (1-10). Having only recently recovered from the “girl avoiding” phase, I felt rather hard pressed to name 10 girls I liked best, (especially as there were only 15 girls in our class). So by the time I’d named the 10th girl, I was really scraping the barrel. I figured that the girl that got No. 1 position really deserved something special on Valentines Day. So I bought her a big heart shaped box of chocolates. She was in shock, also delighted. I also invited her to our June Grade 7 graduation dance, which she accepted. Love however can be fickle, so by the time of our dance, one of my “best friends” had taken my girlfriend and squeezed me out of the picture. It was a disappointing end to Valentine’s day 1967!
Where does Valentine’s Day come from anyway? Its official title is Saint Valentine’s Day. The celebration of February 14th appears to refer not to one but two Valentines. The first Saint called Valentine was a Roman Priest martyred on the Flaminian Way under the Emperor Claudius around 269 A.D. The second St. Valentine was a Bishop of Terni in Interamna, who was taken to Rome and martyred, and whose remains were later conveyed back to Terni.
Why do I still enjoy Valentines Day many years later? It’s because all of us have a need to feel loved, even when you’re married. So often romantic love can fade imperceptibly from a marriage. In the busyness of children, work, school and sports, our marriage can easily get lost in the shuffle. Marriage counsellors tell us that romantic love is one of the greatest lacks in modern marriages. The bible reminds each husband to love his wife as his own body, to love his wife as he loves himself, to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5).
Husbands, let’s surprise our wives on February 14th and make our family homes the most romantic spot on Planet Earth!
Reverend Ed Hird
St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail email@example.com . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99CDN/USD.
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January 15, 2011
Valentine’s Day’s full title is St. Valentine’s Day, because it was named after two St Valentines. They were both Italian clergy martyred in the 3rd century AD for their Christian faith. Because of their sacrificial love, it has become one of the most popular annual events celebrated by hundred of millions around the world. It has become a traditional date night where a wise husband remembers to take his wife out for dinner, followed perhaps by a movie or theatre production. (Husbands, please note that such dates are much less expensive than divorce lawyer’s fee; so put Feb 14th in your IPhone or Blackberry).
Nineteen years ago in a Deep Cove Crier article about marriage, I wrote the following words: “Inside the heart of each and every one of us there is a longing to be understood by someone who really cares. When a person is understood, he or she can put up with almost anything in the world.” After being posted (unbeknown to me) on hundreds of Romance websites, I was approached to write a chapter for the upcoming Canadian anthology “Hot Apple Cider 2’ about this romantic quote. In Hot Apple Cider 2, I commented that my beloved wife “Janice and I are learning afresh the joy of ordinary pleasures: taking regular time together for peaceful walks, chatting over a cup of tea, listening to each other’s daily experiences, watching a video together, going out for dinner, and even reading together.”
Recently I picked up the North Shore News, read Martin Millerchip’s article about Presentation House, and on a whim said to Janice: “Let’s go out on a date night to see Antony Holland’s St Mark’s Gospel.” Being remarkably adaptable, Janice agreed. What a wonderful evening. Unplanned, unexpected, and totally memorable. Happy marriages need to have that sense of adventure, of the unexpected. Boredom in marriage is the devil’s best tool.
Sadly many husbands stop dating their wives after they marry them. “What happened to the man I married?”, many wives wonder. Why was he so attentive before marriage, and now he would rather hang out on the golf course or stay late at work? Our wives deeply need to be romanced, pursued, won over every week. That is one reason why the romance novels are a Billionaire dollar industry, because we husbands are not always putting our wives first. My wife Janice needs to know that she is more important than my work, my hobbies, my writing, my sports. She needs to be Number One under God in my life.
I love to hold my beloved Janice’s hand when we are out on a date. Sitting there in Presentation House, watching Antony Holland perform St Mark’s Gospel, I often reached out to her and gently squeezed her hand when something was really moving. Many people don’t know that Mark’s Gospel is high drama, and when done by a gifted artist, can bring you to tears. Antony Holland, at age 91, is literally North America’s oldest leading actor. If I have half as much energy when I am in my nineties, I will be deeply grateful. As Martin Millerchip of the North Shore News put it, Holland’s ‘hard to resist, perhaps like Jesus’. Holland directed plays throughout the Middle East for the WWII Allied forces, and founded Studio 58 at Langara College where my parents attended his plays for many years. (My mother tells me that Studio 58 initially rehearsed its play in our St. Matthias Oakridge church basement.)
I first became aware of Antony Holland from watching his phenomenal acting in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. No one dances quite like Holland in the final ‘Morrie’ scene. Antony Holland is the quintessential actor. He loves what he does. At age 91, he has just started. Love is what motivates him. Love of acting and love of people. In both St Mark’s Gospel and Tuesdays with Morrie, the love of God overflows through Holland.