Well, the good news is, since I woke up to -24 degrees without the wind this morning, I still was able to start my car with the remote start. It’s wasn’t happy at all, but it has since started one other time, as I am committed to starting the thing about every two hours today, since it won’t get above zero. Actually, the last time we were above zero was February 5. We had been storing some pop in the garage to keep it cool, but somehow the garage door got left open (!) for a few hours, and so when I went out there to look in the freezer, there were frozen fountains of root beer and cokes over a good space of the garage floor. Yuck.
But freezing cold is not what today is all about. It’s of course Valentine’s Day, which is the day we celebrate St. Valentine getting his head cut off by the order of Emperor Claudius, also known as Claudius the Cruel. Well, let’s step back a moment, and not distribute “Happy Head Lopping” cards to our loved ones. The background is that Claudius, for being such a fink, had come to the conclusion that young men serving as soldiers in the Roman Legion were more effective if they did not have families, or especially wives. He believed they would be braver, and better risk-takers when they had nothing to lose, so he made the edict. Valentine, however, privately continued to perform weddings for the couples in secret. Claudius found out, and off went Valentine’s head. Kind of the pits of a way to institute a day set aside for love, eh?
IN the end of the 5th Century AD, Pope Gelasius named February 14 as Valentine’s Day, and a time to celebrate love, and not decapitations. In the middle ages, in both France and England, they believed Feb. 14 was the beginning of the bird’s mating season, and then fast forward to the middle of the 20th century, and elementary school kids decorated shoe boxes, and made valentines to exchange in school.
This year, it is expected that in America, we will spend over $37 Billion for Valentines Day. That’s a lot of chocolate, if I do say so myself. Of course, men outspend women almost 10 to one in gift giving. However much is spent, it is far better than the Norwegian farmer who, when asked if he loved his wife, said, “I told you I loved you 45 years ago. If anything changes, I’ll let you know…”
I hope you have someone, or someones to offer a Valentine’s greeting to. It doesn’t have to be the mushy, smoochy kind of thing. It’s just kind of a wonderful effort in our world to set aside one day at least in which the operative activity is not getting back at someone, or having to be the boss and in charge and lord your will over someone else. Love compels us to give – not always chocolates and flowers and such – but to give of the center of our heart, with no need to receive in return. I love the last few moments of “Les Misérables,” when they sing, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Indeed, that love is transforming and intentional and powerfully offered. That does change everything, and it brings each of us who intends to love that way to a new level of being human. And you don’t have to lose your head over it either. Happy to you and to those you love. I’m going back to spend the day with my bride.
Word for the Day: bajulate. Pronounced BAH-jew-late. I may have shown you a word similar to this before, but it comes from the Latin baiulo, which means “I carry a burden.” In earlier times, someone who would carry goods from one town to another to sell or peddle them would be known as a “badger,” since they wore a badge giving them credentials to take on that business. They would “bajulate” throughout the countryside.
For us, “bajulating” really means to shoulder a load, most often for the sake of others. “It’s my burden to bear.” We bajulate to make the journey easier for another. I think of the statue at Boys Town in Omaha, of one boy being given a piggyback ride by another, and the one carrying him says, “He ain’t heavy, Father – he’s my brother.”
Seek to bajulate if you can. It’s a worthy and noble – and loving thing to do.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.