Years ago my daughter had a rock polishing set. We put the rocks in a canister, plugged it in, and it would turn them over and over, endlessly and loudly. The worst part was that the process took two weeks (not mentioned in the ad campaign) — two weeks of incessant grinding. After a few days of this, I was becoming a desperate person. We put the machine in the basement, but I could still hear the grind. We finally put it in the garage, covered it with something large to dull the noise, and let it go to it's heart's content. At the end of two weeks the rocks were smooth.
It makes me think about tough times — the kind that grind on and on. Frustration builds, the pain gets louder, it seems like nothing is happening — surely, the process is just there to make us crazy. But there is smoothing going on, too; there is change happening, if we are patient enough to wait out the process. And all of that makes me think about love — not the Valentine variety with hearts and chocolate. But the kind of love that grows between people in hard times. True love takes time to get polished. I don't think Hallmark wants us to think about that this week, although there's something to be said for a Valentine that reads: THIS HAS BEEN A LONG, LOUSY MONTH, BUT I STILL LOVE YOU. And so, I wish you much love this year — the kind that's made more beautiful by the ever-present grind.