By Laurel Pattenden
The month of “Cupid” is so strategically timed that when our Christmas stash of chocolate has finally dwindled and we have kicked the sugar cravings, along come those brightly wrapped (red and pink this time) chocolate delights again.
This is the month of “love is in the air”. It is unfortunate that it is also the shortest month of the year. We could certainly use more love.
Anyways, do you remember the children’s song/game that goes like this: “I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it. A little doggy picked it up and put it in his pocket.” It has a catchy little tune and you will be humming it the rest of the day. But I think perhaps there is much more to this song.
When we sing this song, the majority of us take for granted the idea that we are loved so much that we would reciprocate that love back. It makes me think of the saying by Mother Teresa, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
So what about the unloved? Who do they write their letter to or do they just not play in the game? This is an unsettling thought because the fact that being unloved can be so invisible to the common eye.
The song continues with the letter being dropped. How could they be so clumsy? But it can be so much more than clumsiness if we don’t make another effort for our love. I will call this “dropped love”. Many things can cause dropped love. In fact, it can become epidemic. Having a mind full of, meaningful or not, pursuits can get in our way of communicating love.
But luckily, in this case, the dropped letter or dropped love gets picked up by the hero and puts it in his pocket to deliver. Then, in the game, we tap someone on the head and they chase us around the circle to the empty spot. Which depending on the size of the game circle can be very hard on your ankles. DO NOT play this game if you are over the age of seven!
Franciscan nun Ilia Delio says that we belong to each other because we have the same source of love. As it is also written in 1 John 7, 8: “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love”.
So this is where the little doggy comes in. I would much prefer it was a little cat but then again little cat’s don’t have pockets. So the little doggy gets 1 John 7,8 and delivers the dropped love. So this is when this simple song becomes perhaps more. We all claim to love God but we drop love all the time. Everywhere. I need to meditate on this. I need to become the little doggy. We need to fill our pockets full of dropped love that we can then deliver. But who to? Who are the unloved?
The Scottish poet, Kathleen Raine, writes that unless you see a thing in the light of love, you do not see it at all. So if we love God, the source of love, we will see in the light of love. That’s how you get pockets of love and know how to deliver it.