The back of a bench on a busy street is not exactly where you expect to find a message of love. But I spotted this last December, as I was walking through Boulder, Colorado.
There’s a story here, I’m sure, and I have no idea what it is. All the same, this bench made me happy. It was an affirmation of love right there in the middle of town, the kind of thing you might pass right by and miss if you don’t happen to be looking in the right direction at just the right moment.
Valentine’s Day is a day for big, unmissable gestures of love. The roses, the champagne, the romantic evening at an Italian restaurant: it’s a day where you lead with love, where you put it right out there so your special someone can’t miss it. I like all that, but I don’t want to forget that most of the time, love is expressed in quiet, unostentatious ways, ways that seem so much a part of the landscape of life that we hardly give them another glance.
Love is my husband getting up early to make coffee for me, or rubbing my neck as we watch TV. It’s my son bringing me a blanket from his room when I’m lying exhausted on the sofa, covering me as if I were a huge doll. It’s my parents calling to see how that doctor’s appointment went, or my friend and coworker sharing a passage that she read in a spiritual book, one that she knew would make me smile.
It’s easy to walk right by these things and not see them as the statements of love that they are. Like that bench, they’re just part of the landscape around us. We move through that landscape daily, our gaze trained ahead on where we need to go, while beautiful signs of love sit right at the edges of our vision.
They’ll be there whether we consciously notice them or not. But isn’t life better when we do?
Think of your day. Is there a quiet statement of love that you missed today?