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Valentine Light in my Valley

By Howie Soucek

Linda and I were married in 1969, and each Valentine’s Day of our 45 years together, I presented her with a bouquet that included some greenery, baby’s breath, and three carnations—two red and one white.

It was in the same year that Crosby, Stills & Nash came out with their song, “Helplessly Hoping,” which, in addition to some great alliteration, uses wordplay (such as using words with multiple meanings).

Linda and I loved this song, and so the card I included with our Valentine bouquet always said the chorus for this song, with my substitution of “We” for “They.” I would like to share with you our personal interpretation of these words (…and can you hear the beautiful harmony?):

We are one person, ………..Our marriage Relationship represented “one flesh” —indivisible, then and Always. True Life is found in sacred Relationship.

We are two alone, …………Not to be in a sacred Relationship is to be isolated, only as a matter of degree, even unto death. We are nothing, alone, even if we are standing next to each other in the world.

We are three together, …….That which Enables, Empowers, and Unifies us in this sacred Relationship is the Holy Spirit—the white carnation—which is with us—in us, binding us together, …as we allow.

We are for each other. …….Lin and I were born for—created for—each other. The human brain lacks the capacity to understand any of this, …and yet, from the moment we met, Lin and I KNEW this, to the core of our being, more surely than anything the brain knows.

The moment she died, now nine years ago, I wept for awhile, …deeply. And then—suddenly—filled with a bracing wind, I rose in earnest to thank God as profoundly as I could, and to praise Him for His inestimable Blessing of our Relationship in one flesh. Inestimable—yes!

The alchemy of my tears had changed to Joy! …which is irrational. Love is irrational.

Do you hear this?


To contemplate only our blessings that easily come to mind

is to be overwhelmed by Graceful Goodness,

…which is our Light as we walk in our dark Valley.

Indeed, the Valley has been steadily darkening,

but my Light, steadily brighter,

illuminates the Living Truth,

…making the darkness simply irrelevant.

This Valentine’s Day, I will see our carnations as clearly as ever before, even in the darkness of my Valley, lit with the Divine Light of the Holy Spirit and filling me with the same, bracing wind, …as my inevitable, painful tears will once again undergo the same change of alchemy.

Such a wonder is this Amazing Grace!

Crosby, Stills Nash - Helplessly Hoping -

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This amounts to the 54th Valentine that I have given to my Lin. The photo of Lin and me, above, was taken (during our dating days in 1968) by Lin's Mom with her Polaroid "instant camera" in their pre-Civil War farmhouse, with its one oil-burning space heater in the kitchen. Their HVAC was powered by love...

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