My favourite Valentines Day
Eight years ago, as I was buying myself a small diamond pendant in Hamburg, I told myself that the next diamond I was going to receive would be a present from a beautiful man.
And here I was in Barranco – an artistic district of Lima, Peru – sitting outside at a candlelit table in a fancy restaurant in a quiet alley, with view of an ancient church, when my wish came true.
At the end of a very fancy dinner (Lima is famous for fancy restaurants) my partner, Dave, pulled a little pink paper gift bag out of his backpack.
“Happy Valentine’s day!” he said.
“A present!" wow, I thought… “I thought we had agreed not to buy presents for Valentines day!”
I thought he had bought a little trinket at the artisan market we had meandered through a few hours before.
“What if I don’t like it?” I asked.
“Oh, you can just throw it out,” he answered.
He pulled out our new video camera and started to film my unraveling of the present. I pulled out the red polka-dotted tissue paper and found a ball of tightly pressed yellow paper.
“For sure a trinket,” I thought. “It is getting smaller and smaller,” I said to Dave who was attentively filming.
I unraveled the last little bit of paper and lo and behold! A diamond ring rolled into my hands and with it a whole avalanche of emotions started to thunder through my body. For a split second I felt elated - a long lost dream had come true! This was immediately followed by a barrage of fearful thoughts:
“I can’t say yes, what if I make a mistake?”
“Never trust a man, they imprison you" I heard my mom’s voice in my head. I looked at Dave who was trying to gage my reaction. With a trembling voice, he then asked, “Will you do me the honour of calling me your husband?”
Another barrage of thoughts rushed through my head: Yes, no, yes, I can’t, I’m not the marrying type, and I would love to. I didn’t know which thought to follow or believe. Finally feeling like I was forcing myself to jump over a humongous shadow, I said:
“But I am scared.”
“That is OK, we never actually have to get married, if you don’t want to. I just wanted to give you a ring.”
He calmed me right down and allowed me to finally find an avenue to joy. What a sweet compliment; what a huge barrier he had to jump over himself. How daring that he had done that! What a tremendously rich moment, in this starry night in Lima with my favourite person.
“The only thing I know is that if I ever get married, you are the only person on the planet I would want to marry.” I said.
And immediately the controlling-everything voice in my head shouted: “but you don’t know everybody; there might be a better man for you out there!”
“Shut up!” I told it. “I know Dave and I love being with him and that is good enough!”
Ah! The different facets of commitment - I’m beginning to see that insecurity, fear and the impulse to run away, are as much a part of commitment as are vulnerability, joy and a deeply relaxed heart. All these feelings can be allowed to have room to melt into one universe together.
The ring fit perfectly. Dave had guessed my size correctly. “A good omen” I thought. Although all the feelings I described were still running through my system, a tender feeling of gratitude slowly began to overpower them.
Whatever this ring may mean in the future, right now it is a symbol of commitment to love. It looks like a star from night sky has landed on my hand. And in a sparkling shamanic manner it is nudging a tender side of me to trust - to trust life with all its imperfections.
“Is it big enough?” he asked.
“Oh, it is so big enough!” I replied...