Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


from A Year of Morning Thanks

Valentine's Day

The vicissitudes of married life simply come with the package, or so I’ve learned. In a relationship, heat rises and falls, then rises again, only to descend, sometimes inexplicably, a few weeks later. After 35 years of married life--trust me on this--the amplitude is not as dramatic as it once was; but it's fair to say that, even after so many years, affection still has its seasons.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and I have no trouble picking up the pen to inscribe the card that dang well better be sent. But there've been other Valentine's Day when writing sweet nothings has been, well, something of a chore. After all, it's hard to get warm when the furnace hasn’t kicked in for awhile. But the coming of St. Valentine--or whoever it was who created this annual Hallmark day--means a job must be done, a card must be written, so I do it, regardless of temperature.

And, honestly, I’m thankful for the St. Valentine's discipline. Left to our own devices, I suppose I could be as ugly as the Bible and John Calvin say I’d be. So it’s good to be pushed, once a year at least, to take up the pen and say sweet things. Some years, like this one?--piece of cake. Others?--maybe not so. Valentine's Day is not always easy, but good.

Regardless, what I've learned, even in the cold, is that, come next year, it may be warmer in the house. What I know is that love is far more substantial than its own fickle temperatures.

But then, on this piece-of-cake Valentine's Day, when outside our doors the wind chill is -30 or so, I’ll always, always, always trade a summer afternoon for mid-February.

This morning, I'm thankful for St. Valentine--and, of course, my wife through the varied Midwest climates of all of those years.

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