In February chocolate means love. We give the irresistible sweet on Valentine’s Day, which is the only holiday set aside for an emotion. Chocolate candy, with its deep color and rich taste, along with flowers and paper hearts aptly expresses a token of what we feel in a tangible way. There’s passionate love, such as that of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in “Sonnets from the Portuguese.”
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”
When I read those words, I see a young girl with long flowing blonde hair and a guy with broad shoulders sitting on the brick steps of the girl’s house on a warm, spring night wrapped in each others arms. I imagine it’s late and perhaps the girl’s father flashes the outdoor spotlight for her to come inside, so they hug tighter and kiss longer until at last she must go indoors.
And I hope their love will endure the obstacles and challenges life puts in their paths, and she will love him even better after death. But for me, it’s Johnny Mathis who captured the depth of everlasting love in his song, “The Twelfth of Never,” when he sang:
You ask how long I’ll love you; I’ll tell you true;
Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be loving you.”
When I hear his smooth, melodious voice singing those lyrics, I see a young girl with love aglow in her crystal, clear green eyes and a boy with a strong build beside her. Holding hands, they walk down a road beside a field of daffodils and lush green grass with the sun shining brightly. They keep strolling until the flowers die, the grass withers and the sky turns gray. Her hair is short and white, and his shoulders are slumped, but they’re still holding hands as tightly as ever.
These two make me think of a couple I know who are in their eighties. I’ll call them Sarah and John. One night I sat across from them at the Wednesday night dinner at our church. He started a sentence, and she finished it. While she nibbled on her salad he gazed at her plate with interested, dark eyes. After a moment he got up, took long strides with his lanky legs to the serving table and brought back a roll. She smiled and took it. “Oh, thank you,” she said. But she only gave him a glance with her clear, blue eyes before she turned to the young man on her right. He talked to her about a problem he was having at work. After she finished eating, she leaned her trim, petite body close to the young man and spoke softly, obviously offering him sympathy and a possible solution. One of the ministers walked over to John and asked, “Can you meet with me on Monday? I’d like for you to help organize a group to build a house for Habitat for Humanity.”
John stood and shook the minister’s hand. “Sure. What time?”
The strength of enduring love overflows and reaches out to family, friends, and those in need who often are unknown to the person giving the love. And we wonder where it comes from? How can we have love that lasts forever? Scientists can’t create it. If they could, they would be selling it for a fortune. Once I heard that a scientist had proven that chemicals in the brain produce love, but so far no one has isolated those elements or found a pill that stimulates defective chemicals to produce love that isn’t there. Even though sometimes it appears that love can be bought or forced on someone, no one can dictate the feelings of another person’s heart. Love must be received and given. The affection we search for is a gift from our Creator, and for me that’s God. When we understand how worthy we are because our Creator loves us, even though we’re not perfect, we tap into the love, and we can give out lots of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. I believe Cammie O’Shea, the main character in my first romance, Love Turns the Tide, discovers that type of love in spite of her trials and tribulations.
Gail grew up in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. The granddaughter of a minister and niece of several English teachers, she inherited their interests in storytelling along with her mother’s love of people. Her first writing appeared in a grammar school newspaper she and a friend put out about their classmates. Much later at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., she enrolled in the college’s first professional writing class, placing several poems in the literary magazine and one in The Anthology of American Poetry, published by Royal Publishing Company in Dallas, Texas. After graduation she worked in Atlanta, Georgia, as an editor and copywriter until she married. Then while helping her husband with his business she published poems and freelance articles. While some were selected for anthologies two historical pieces ended up in museums. After being nudged by others to do more with her writing Gail published her first book, Now Is the Time. In 2004, the year it was released, the American Christian Writers Association named her a regional Writer of the Year. Her first romance, Love Turns the Tide, was published by Awe-Struck E Books. She lives in Georgia, with Rick, her husband of thirty-seven years. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, swimming, traveling, and visiting with friends and relatives.
Love Turns the Tide is available from Awe-Struck Publishing at www.awe-struck.net. Learn more about Gail on her Web site, http://www.gailpallotta.com and read her blog at http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com