Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest Blogger, Author, Mark Levine, Musings on Valentine's Day

I was so excited when author, Mark Levine, accepted my invitation to guest blog on the Butterfly Phoenix blog this week.

Mark is married, and lives with his wife in Romeoville, IL, where he is a teacher and an author. Mark regularly blogs on Levine Writes


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Valentine’s Day is upon us, and as with many “Hallmark created” holidays, we head to the store to buy what we are expected to, in order to satisfy the social pressures that we have learned to love in a mindless Lemming manner.  

I am one of those guys that actually have followed such a tradition of getting the “required” props for each given created holiday, so that no feelings are hurt and nobody feels left out.  Yes, I at times, have been amongst the crowds of guys in the lines at grocery stores, convenience stores, and even gas stations, early in the day on February 14th.    I have witnessed the shame on the faces of these men, who refuse to make eye contact so they do not have to admit to themselves that they have made it to this level of shame.  I am not sure if it is part of the guy code to collectively respect the other men by refusing to put another guy through the embarrassment, or if it is just an accepted line-of-shame decree passed down in the male DNA.  Either way, this sad phenomenon exists and I am pretty sure all women know it lurks in the shadows of the day. 
So where does this painful dance originate?  It appears that over 3,000 years ago, some guy, named Valentine, believed in love.  He believed so much, that he risked his life for love.  He agreed to marry young male soldiers to their loves, even though it was considered illegal at the time.  He risked his life in the name of love.  As he was sentenced to death, he was introduced to a young beautiful blind girl of significance.  It was understood that he was a healer of sorts and he might be able to heal the girl.  With no promise of freedom or pardon for his crime, he healed the girl.  He was executed and left the girl, who had become his closest friend, a loving note.  The note was signed, “from your Valentine.”

Now for the open and honest part, I am a man of passion and love.  I enjoy doing special things for the love of my life.  I look forward to being the romantic and caring one.  Yes, I am one of those sensitive guys.  I don’t really desire to be current on the latest trend of gift giving, or for that matter, follow the tradition of candy and flowers.  I would much rather give a hunk of wood that was found on a walk we took several years ago.  I might attach a note of a memory I cherish from that particular walk, and how the memory has enhanced my love for her.  As far as I am concerned, celebrating a tradition that we assert is a holiday does not have to follow every norm set forth for us.  It is more than the thought …it is the heart that counts. 

I am a teacher, an author, a person who values humor and honesty.  I am a guy with high expectations for self and for others around me.  Like everyone else…I seek acceptance and love.  On this Valentine’s Day, or week…I hope you all find what matters to you in your own way.  Whether it is tradition, or non-compliance; flowers, or a hunk of wood, outward or inward love…I hope you find what the day means for you. 

Peace.  Mark.
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Thank you, Mark for taking the time (on short notice) to fill in for me today! To my readers: take a moment to visit Levine Writes and learn more about the fascinating author, Mark Levine. Have a great week everyone!