Happy Valentine's Day!
That Johnson Boy here - typing feverishly on this keyboard in the hopes that warmth will return to these frozen fingertips. It is freezing cold here in NYC, but I think the following question will raise the heat in very short order. So, tell me folks... on this a Nationally Recognized Day of Love, I just wanna know...
How Far Are You Willing To Go In The Name of Love?
The question arose during my morning commute. I headed out to work on Valentine's Day and came face to face with a rather wicked ice storm. Luckily, I had already peeked out and realized that the Snow Emergency Rules were in effect. Translation: residents of Gotham City are granted permission to park their trendy attire on the opposite side of the closet in favor of unfashionable cold weather gear. Yet, even in my parka, timbaland boots, gloves and thermal underwear, I was still painfully cold.
Halfway into my commute, a delivery guy boarded the bus and created quite a commotion. In his hands was a huge tent of plastic, which he held in front of him as if carrying the Holy Grail. As he inched towards the rear, the mass of commuters parted like the Red Sea. I noticed that the female commuters were eyeing his package as if they were staring down a Victoria Secret's Buy One Get One Free sale. All the while I'm wondering what could create such a reaction in the normally staid Upper Eastsiders?
Mr. Delivery Guy exited at my stop. I caught up with him on the subway platform. Dude was shivering uncontrollably, his moustache and beard sealed in ice, but his package was intact. I could make out the bow... a splash of green... a mass of red... aha! Dude was delivering a bouquet of roses to some lucky recipient. The arrangement wasn't big at all. But the tent of plastic created to protect the roses was enormous. It's as if the florist created a temporary greenhouse to protect the roses from the elements.
And that, my friends, got me to thinking...
If the florist was willing to go to such great lengths to protect a token of love, then what about us? What are we willing to do to protect the real thing? What are you willing to do in the name of love?
We all know that relationships can be as brutal as today's icy Nor'easter. And like today's storm, they'll make you ponder how anything so beautiful can be so painful. The twist and turns of the average relationship is more than enough to invoke Marvin Gaye's "Make Me Wanna Holla, Throw Up BOTH My Hands." Simply put, overexposure to the unpleasant elements of love and relationships can leave us numb and send us scurrying into hibernation.
Don't get me wrong - I do understand. If you read my last posting, you know that I understand the painful aspects of love gone wrong.
Much like the florist, we must do everything we can to protect our ability and willingness to love. Most of us excel at protecting our hearts from others. But, on this cold-as-heck Valentine's Day 2007, I need you to know this: most of us need to protect our heart - not from others - but, from ourselves.
Hmmm, maybe I need to say that one more time. In the spirit of James Brown, can I hit it two times?
Most of us should concentrate on protecting our heart from ourselves.
Most of us (self included) are Master Bricklayers. We are the one's who encase the most delicate of organs within brick walls. We are the one's who continually administer the numbing I.V. long after the healing could've/would've/should've taken place. We are the one's who unintentionally allow the destructive seeds of cynicism to take root and fester in our spirit. But we don't call it that, do we? We call it survival. We call it doing what we gotta do... playin' the game (even as er'body declares they don't want to play games). We call it everything but what it is - a tragedy.
So, my friends, last year I gave you a Valentine's Day gift from my heart. This year, I'm asking you to grant me a Valentine's Gift from your heart.
Grant me a Valentine's Gift that you'll do whatever you have to do to keep your heart and spirit pliable, open and receptive to the enormous possibility of something beautiful happening in your love life. That means warding off the cynicism, as well as those who live to recruit members to join the Miserable 'til Death Club (a/k/a Men/Women ain't $#!# Club).
Grant me a Valentine's Gift that you'll do whatever you have to do to remove the walls. Learn from the florist. His plastic tent was ample protection against a fierce ice storm, maintained the perfect temperature for the delicate roses all the while allowing admirers a seductive glimpse at the beauty that lie just inside the tent. Each of us would do well to replace the brick and mortar with something more pliable that allows our beauty to shine through.
And, just in case you suspect I might be living on Fantasy Island, consider this...
Last year, in response to my posting entitled, "Something New For Valentine's Day, " I received an email from a very successful, single mom. She thanked me for the message, but also shared "if a man were to sing the lyrics from 'For Your Precious Love' - at this point in my life - he'd have to yell them as I don't think I'd be able to hear him." She's beautiful, funny, quite accomplished and yet, there was no one to whisper those beautiful lyrics in her ear. What she didn't write, but definitely implied was that she was open to hearing the lyrics and in fact, would love to hear the lyrics sung to her.
That was February 2006. In October 2006, I saw her at the Terisa Griffin CD Release Party in DC. She was in great spirits and introduced me to several of her invited guest. Didn't think anything about it... that is, until yours truly intercepted bits and pieces of the secret sista code - something about "new love" and a certain someone being "full of giggles." It seems that Ms. "He'd Better Yell" has a very special man whispering the Iceman's lyrics and by all accounts she's hearing him loud and clear and grinning like the Cheshire Cat. (And you thought you could keep a secret from That Johnson Boy???!!!)
Ladies and gentlemen, let me state emphatically -- I believe in love. I believe that each of us can enjoy healthy, loving relationships on THIS side of heaven. Let us all commit to gifting to ourselves the promise to do whatever we must do to keep our hearts supple, our spirits warm and our outlook and expectations refreshingly optimistic. That's work. I know it is. But, trust me - bricklaying is hard work (and no benefits to boot!). And when love comes calling... AND LOVE WILL COME CALLING... it won't have to bring a jackhammer to tear down the walls that you forgot were there. As for you and that special person? Y'all can embrace John Legend's "definitely worth listening to" ballad... you know the one... "Take It Slow." And, in time y'all can up the ante by calling on the Iceman. "For Your Precious Love, Means More To Me...".
That's how far I'm willing to go in the name of love. How 'bout you? Wishing you a truly wonderful Valentine's kinda love from That Johnson Boy, that's who!
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