A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.
Don: Well, Valentine, you must be feeling pretty good this month — what with all these cards in your name doing the rounds and giving all the schoolgirls a flutter.
Valentine: Right, and quite a few schoolboys too, not to mention a myriad other young men and women, including some mums and dads, believe it or not. Even grannies and grandpas!
Don: Come, come. You mean to say some mums and dads still send those things. I thought romance flew out the window right after the honeymoon. I must say, as far as I’m concerned, marriage is a romantic dead-end and a trap. All that involvement and responsibility — and then children and nappies and all that. Man, it’s enough, Valentine, to put you out of business. Footloose and fancy-free — that’s what I say. Live for the moment. Play the field. Why, I sent half a dozen cards today to different people, ranging from a divorcee in her thirties to a young nurse I met the other day. Give ‘em all a thrill!
Valentine: I fear you flatter yourself. But let me ask you something. Do you love any of those women?
Don: Sure I do. I love them all. Every one is a darling. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for any of them — you know, except hitch up permanently. That would kind of restrict one, wouldn’t it?
Valentine: You mean, long term love and caring is restricting. For you or them?
Don: Well, for me mainly, I admit.
Valentine: Isn’t that rather selfish? I thought love was concerned for others, and you seemed to be priding yourself on being the great lover. If you were, you could surely love and care for someone over the long haul. Or is the great lover act just a smokescreen to hide great failure. In fact I’d say right now you were a poor marriage risk. It’s too demanding. You see marriage demands real life. The best you could handle would be serial monogamy.
Don: What’s that?
Valentine: Having one wife at a time every four years. It’s all the rage now, you know. Too bad about the kids and the broken lives left behind.
Don: Oh, kids are flexible. They get over it. Take me. My folks bust up when I was 10. I was shuttled back and forth between two sets of parents and families and I’ve coped pretty well. What with the parties, the movies, the babes and the booze-ups, I get along fine. Sure, I loathe my job and most human beings get me down, but I keep my end up.
Valentine: Pardon my boldness, Don, but wouldn’t you deep down really like to have something more — like say a really happy marriage? Aren’t these detached, transitory, butterfly romances sort of fragmenting?
Don: Well, smart one, I agree they could be better. But what’s the answer? You tell me.
Valentine: Well, let me try. First of all, I am not the key. I’m part of the picture, and an important part. I specialise in romance and try to keep it going. But the real key lies with the Master whose servant I am. He is the Author of love and marriage, and indeed of romance. Lovers who put their lives in His hands find He makes all the difference. He gives them loyalty, commitment, kindness, helps them forgive, and stirs their sense of responsibility for each other and for the kids. All of which helps me in my job of keeping romance going. You see, Don, I can’t operate for long without Him, and nor, my dear friend, can you.