On Valentines Day some of us send flowers or cards to our loved ones, most often our spouse. We use this special day to say and do things we think about but seldom actually do. I just finished reading the “Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. This book declares that heartfelt communication is essential to our relationships. When speaking of communication, Ms. Joyce expresses Harold Fry’s dilemma when he says, “I’m reminded of St. Paul’s words, “I do what I don’t want to do, and I don’t do what I want to do.” (Romans 7:15 paraphrased)
In today’s world, many of us spend way too much time on phones and I-pads, sort of communicating. At least, we think we’re communicating. But are we? Are we speaking words that come from our hearts?
In the book, Harold has spent his life keeping his head down and his mouth shut. He learned as a child that safety is being as invisible as possible. In retirement, he becomes aware of how much he has left unsaid. His relationship with his wife, his son, even his friend, Queenie, have disappeared because of his inability to communicate his thoughts and feelings in words and in actions.
Harold’s wife, Maureen, suffers from talking too much, saying hurtful, judgmental things. Often, they weren’t what she wanted to say. Like Harold, she just couldn’t communicate the words and actions from her heart.
‘The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” is just a story in which the lack of communication is exaggerated. The story, however, carries much truth. Too often, we never penetrate beyond the surface in our communication with friends and loved ones. We leave so many things unsaid. On the other hand, when hurt, upset, or angry, we say things we regret.
Today, we think technology has made communication easier. In reality, our opportunities for miscommunication have increased.
Now that we’re older, Tom and I have learned that aging is difficult, relationships more so. Anything we can do to make life easier for each other, we are willing to do. At this stage in our lives, we begin and end each day, telling each other from the depth of our hearts that our marriage is precious, that we feel blessed to be together. Of course, sometimes we’re cranky, even angry, or disappointed. But at least, at the beginning and ending of each day, we can express our concerns, our joys, our disappointments, our little successes and mostly our love for each other. We can truly communicate what is going on in our hearts. For me, it’s like receiving a gift of flowers everyday.
My recommendation? Use this Valentine’s Day to be a new beginning. Whether to our child, our parent, our spouse, our friend, even a stranger, let’s make our words and actions come from deep within our heart. May we speak and write of our love, even our faith. Relationships are precious. Let’s begin to nurture them any way we can.
“If I speak in the tongues of men (humans) or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (I Corinthians 13 NIV )