Left Justified: Preparing for a happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day elicits thoughts of love, letters, fine food and romantic evenings. I’m not sure if love should be celebrated in the midst of war, but in our personal lives, may we try to attain the ultimate tranquility that I believe our God calls us to.

As a political commentator, I sometimes find myself using sarcasm, snide remarks, and unlovely attacks. I hereby publicly apologize, and in the spirit of St. Valentine, ask forgiveness.

For all of you I wish a weekend of love, and here’s ways to make it easier to celebrate.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, Rockford Peace & Justice is co-sponsoring a Charlotte’s Web program that hosts Holly Near singing songs of the heart. This musical highlight will be presented at Second Congregational Church, 318 N. Church St.

Folksinger Holly Near, for those of you who don’t know, is a wonderful vocalist and songwriter who has toured throughout the world. But she’s stopped here many times in Rockford over her long, illustrious career. The last time she visited, she shared the stage with folksinger John McCutcheon. This time, she’ll sing a cappella. The program should be a huge success, and will start off the Valentine’s Day weekend. Call (815) 964-2238 for ticket information and reservations.

Some philosophers say love should start with the individual. If two people cannot get along, how can two countries? On the other hand, if war exists, doesn’t that disrupt individuals’ lives? It’s a chicken-and-egg question. Does peace bring about love? I think the answer lies in doing both: working for a harmonious lifestyle and, at the same time, trying to talk your government out of blowing up someone else.

Rockford Peace & Justice will host a special Valentine’s Day dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St. It will be, of course, a vegan meal. “Vegan” means there will be no animal byproducts, no milk, cheese, or even honey. Nothing with a face will suffer for your enjoyment.

But the dinner will be a marvelous feast of vegetables with a wonderful fruit dessert, and all for the low price of $12 per person. As an after-dinner treat, Dr. Don Burmeister will give a short talk on vegetarianism, and explain what we just ate. Rockford Peace & Justice will offer door prizes through a trivia quiz, which has become a Valentine’s Day tradition.

St. Valentine wrote letters while in jail. His missives brought love in other people’s hearts even though he was suffering imprisonment. I’d like to suggest that we write letters. Valentine cards are nice; in fact, Rockford Urban Ministries (whom I work for), is putting out two Valentine’s Day cards for a free-will donation, one in support of the Total Health Awareness Team, which hands out condoms to street sex providers on Seventh Street, and the other is in support of Iraq veterans for peace.

But a handwritten note sent through “snail mail” is just as good if not better than something store-bought or even purchased for a good cause. Taking the time to write to a loved one, a family member, friend, or especially an acquaintance who needs a little support, is the least that we can do as human beings.

But I also urge you to send love toward someone you may have had a fight with, an enemy, or just a disagreeable person. Maybe your love will be the tipping point that brings about world peace. We can only hope. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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