On the occasion of his birthday on February 2nd, my Facebook friend Paul Zelizer shared a few lines that poet Wendell Berry happened to write on the day of Paul’s birth in 1968.

In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter,
war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.

As Paul prepared for his own birthday gathering on February 2, 2017, he wrote:

Tonight I will sit by the fire
Comforted by the radiant heat of
The people who know me best.
There are no screens here.
A warm cup of cider in my hands.
The flickering light on faces I love.
The world is in pain. Conflict spreading.
And in this circle we can breathe.
The people here have all been burned.
There is no moral high ground now.
Just one dozen beating hearts, humbled.
Into this space, we welcome the Divine.

Last week, I wrote about creating intentional spaces. For me, both of these poems speak of the same thing. Both Wendell Berry’s and Paul Zelizer’s words call forth deep love in the presence of difficulty and challenge.

Wendell Berry chose to sow clover on the hillside, trusting that if he planted seeds for a new season, that season would surely come. Paul Zelizer chose to surround himself with the people who know him best – to spend his birthday evening in the company of love. He chose to create an intentional space where all could come as they are, and trusted that they would find what they needed together.

The world is in pain. Conflict spreading.
And in this circle we can breathe.
The people here have all been burned.
There is no moral high ground now.
Just one dozen beating hearts, humbled.
Into this space, we welcome the Divine.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about romancing your own heart and courting your inner peace. I shared Etty Hillesum’s words about reclaiming large areas of peace within ourselves and molding our inner life. We can create intentional space both around us and within us.

 In this Valentine’s week, may you create intentional space for yourself and for those you love. May you gather around you people who are dear to you. May you reach out to be in touch with those across the miles who you hold closely in your heart.

Spend time together and love each other. Appreciate each other. Nurture and support one another. Find something to laugh about together. Touch that space between you where love lives. And if tears come, it’s OK to cry together, too.

We’re living in challenging times. We’re also living in blessed times. American spiritual teacher Ram Dass taught us, “What is a broken heart but an open heart?” If your heart is broken open in joy and gladness, then celebrate that and spread your love. And if your heart is broken open in sadness and pain, then honor that, as well. Care for that, and spread your love.

Love is. We are. Love is the creating and sustaining force of all. Love will carry us. Blessings to you in this Valentine week.

~ ~ ~

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