*Two days ago while working at my associate’s office it hit me, I’ve got to tell my story on a larger platform and in so doing, I may indeed reveal some very personal aspects of my life. Valentine’s Day 2013 has met me with a heart full of joy! This is not because I’ve been swept off my feet onto a bed of roses by the love of my life. This is not because I will spend it with my mother or father, or any of the list of loved ones who have now passed away. Today I am joyful because I have learned to know love for love’s sake, meaning that the essence of love itself is a stabilizing force and I have been forced to find it, embrace it and be thankful for it, no matter what form it happens to take.
Valentine’s Day as a little girl meant a huge box of chocolates, wrapped in red or pink satin for my Aunt Mary and a smaller box for me. This was the annual gift from the gentleman of all gents, my Uncle Bill. It also meant the box of candy hearts with the love phrases printed on them, or the passing of Valentine’s cards among your classmates. As a teen and young adult it meant anticipating that your soul mate would come into your life and that you would love each other fiercely and tackle the world together, while raising your children and building a fortune.
Then as life’s realities set in, Valentine’s Day sometimes meant a romantic evening with a significant other, but often times it meant evenings that grew later and later as the flames were blown out on candle lit dinners when the guest of honor never showed. Then there were the years when I did have the ring and we shared the bed, but there was nothing left to say. The search for the perfect Valentine’s Day card, never captured the gist of two paths that were never meant to cross, but still somehow they did. After divorce, came the revelation of the many great spiritual beings that were already in my life. Some had been lovers, some had not. I resolved to enjoy the hugs and love of brothers, buddies, aunts, uncles and of course the cuddly, unconditional love of children. As a mature woman, I can now clearly see that relationships come with a cost. Sometimes it balances out perfectly but if there is more “give” and not enough “take” or vice, versa, then it is not worth the price of giving up my piece, for my peace. If there is not a shared sense of values, then I’d rather wrap my arms around myself, take a deep breath and thank the creator for the life and love that He gives and continue to count every blessing that I can fathom.
Yes, the anticipation of new love does manage to creep in once in a while. I am blessed to have such an array of powerful men that have shaped my life. I rarely date, and when I finally decide to give love one more try, it seldom morphs into anything of substance. The error of my ways was in thinking that if the man came to me, then surely he must be the one. Well, wrong and wrong again. Not too long after my divorce, I was approached by an old friend. As they say; “He had it goin’ on!” Since we had already known each other as friends and shared a great deal of professional respect, this one was a no brainer. Moving the love from the friend category into the other category was only a matter of chemistry. Heretofore I had never thought of the guy in a romantic manner, but after a few phone calls when I heard his ‘off air’ swagger, for sure I could envision myself as his Mrs. He was such an enterprising man, making headlines at every turn in his career, it was understandable that at best his lady love, would run a close second to the career that he was married to already. We got together a few times, and in between were the promises that never ended with the manifestations of what he had promised to me. He seemed like the perfect man, the almighty HE! Like any woman who grew up playing with dolls and believing in fairy tales, I imagined our lives together and of us being a blessing to one another. Months and months went by. The excitement of loving again faded into frustration and I knew that I had to take that idea of love off the hook, breathe again and enjoy life on life’s terms. I literally heard the words form to the song Cherish The Moment and I began writing it right away.
I never got to love that man in the way that my heart now desired, he never knew how I waited, but I have mastered loving from a distance (without the need for possession) and finding love, joy and strength in the air that I breathe. A similar chance to love represented itself again just recently. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got a call from another old friend. This time it was an older man, who had expressed interest several times over the years. Though I never considered him in that manner, I hesitantly decided to spend some time with him over the holidays to explore taking our friendship to another level. Again, loving him was already a matter of fact. He was also an extremely powerful man who had been quite congenial in the past, but his life had been marred by scandal that was chronicled from The New York Times to the local press. This time the strength came in loving him enough to be the friend that he needed, and not the woman that he wanted to woo. The joy came in loving myself enough not to settle for less no matter how good the package looked. The time was still not right for us to be more than we already were.
I am in love today, because I am cherishing every moment and I challenge everyone, especially those who are still single to do the same. I see love everywhere. It’s in old people walking hand in hand; it’s the memory of loved ones, in your favorite smells and in your favorite dishes. It’s in loving the one that got away and quietly blessing him with honor. Love is in counting every blessing and calling it love- the love of God-the power to forgive, the power to heal and the courage to love again. Happy Valentine’s Day and Cherish The Moment.
LaRita “Jazzy Rita” Shelby is a veteran broadcaster, actress, Marketing & Media professional and a contributing journalist for EURweb.com. She and music partner Willie Daniels co-wrote & produced “Cherish the Moment” along with Michael Wells, Stafford Floyd & Vida Nash for the A Date With A Song album project. Jazzy Rita is currently working on her next music project, a new book and returning to the TV and film industry. www.LaRitaShelby.com Email Jazzy Rita: firstname.lastname@example.org.