Wait for the tide to turn

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 23, 2002

Tomorrow is the big day. Hearts everywhere are aflutter with anticipation. Candy is bought, flowers are ordered, dinner reservations are made. It's sweetheart time again.

All across America men and women, boys and girls are waiting for those arrows from cupid's bow to come hurtling through the Valentine air and kerplunk right into their quivering hearts.

Kids in school want the excitement and surprise of that valentine card from a classmate. Young lovers want to be reminded that they are treasured and, oh so special.

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Those of us a little longer in the tooth like reminders of the days past and assurances of the comfort and security of a love relationship as friendly as a pair of well worn slippers. So we make our plans to honor those most special to us. We send reminders of our love and affection to friends, our families and especially to those who make our hearts skip a beat. And all this hoopla is in the name of love.

What is it about romantic love that makes us all go mushy in the head? We seem to loose sight of reason, judgment and common sense. We make that connection with another person and , boom, we throw caution to the wind and rush down any old path so long as our beloved is at the end of it. And if that beloved turns out to be a little less than we hoped for, we usually try the same thing all over again with another likely candidate to be the love of our life. We may, while in the throes of hurt and embarrassment, swear that we will never again dip our toes into that pool again, we usually do. Once bitten twice shy applies to heads, but evidently not to hearts. Our heads might learn, but our hearts are hopeless. Actually, maybe our hearts are hopeful in the belief that the right one is out there somewhere. That may be why we never give up the search for that perfect person.

Regretfully, lots of people these days try on partners like they try on shoes. I think we should do a little more window shopping rather than impulsively taking home a selection knowing there is a liberal return policy. After so much such trying on, do all the possible partners seem the same only with different names?

Sadly, society seems to be moving from wedding rehearsals to rehearsal weddings. I recently heard a statistic stating that over 50 percent of marriages in this country now end within the first 20 months. We keep automobiles longer than that!

Some years ago, love meant "never having to say you're sorry." Although the catch phrase referred to complete acceptance within a relationship, maybe we should be a little more willing to say "I'm sorry" and really mean it.

We'll all make blunders, fall short, disappoint. We are after all so very human. But a sincere apology backed up by honest effort to be a better partner can heal a lot of wounds. It might work a little better than "Get over it", one of my personal choices for most unacceptable responses to problematic situations. At least we could give it a try before we call the lawyer.

In the old Negro spiritual, I've Got Peace Like A River, the second verse reads, "I've got love like a river, I've got love like a river, I've got love like a river in my soul." How wonderful are the times when we feel that way, when the fullness of our love is so great that it flows out of us like rivers of water. That doesn't happen every day. Not all days are so blessed.

But, because we have days that are less than wonderful, we sure recognize wonderful when it comes along. I've always said that romantic relationships are like the ocean. Sometimes the tide is in and other times the tide is out. But like the ocean, the tide will turn. If we are able to wait out those low tide days, we oftentimes will be rewarded with another beautiful incoming tide.

But, whatever your water level is today, I hope you'll all have a high tide tomorrow. Happy Valentine's Day.

For comments, email Staff Writer Carolyn McGinty at www.cmcginty@volexpress.com.