Marie-Elsa Bragg

BBC Radio 4 Prayer for the Day, 14 February 2017



Good morning

Today is Valentine’s Day and I would like to give thanks for the deeper romance that comes from a long held, often fought for, love. C.S Lewis described it as being face to face. Intimate and intense. A modern therapist said the ‘ideal’ is followed by the ‘ordeal’ to dig for the ‘real deal.

And as we know, once the ideal view of each other or the life we hoped for becomes exposed to the forces of nature or reality, we begin to dig for love. And as Maya Angelou said: ‘Courtesy is invited back.’

Today, I would like to challenge the idea of that enduring relationships inevitably become tamed and grey. A friend, married 53 years, explained compromise as something that necessarily striped away self-importance and brought them closer. And another friend, married 43 years, said they built something consistent in the midst of change. It’s rather like Henry Moore’s King and Queen holding hands out in the elements. Never perfect, but still holding.

What happens to that powerful chemistry when courtesy is invited back? Where does it go? In part it goes into the courage to face each other and to craft a home, knowing your time together is limited and precious. But also, as our bodies still love, the deeper trust can mature into a sensuality and eroticism that’s like good wine.

So, happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you are and how ever you have loved.

My gift to you is a question: If a rose is the flower for new romantic love, what is the flower for the deeper romantic love that holds through the seasons of life?

Loving God, may we love, live, and love again, Amen.