This February Iím delighted to say
The Love Book
will be available in the UK and overseas for the first time.
Itís a story thatís particularly
close to my heart (if youíll excuse the pun), as it begins right
here in Whitefriar Street, Dublin, where St Valentineís relics are
preserved in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, and his shrine there
is visited daily by those seeking to find, or giving thanks for,
The story begins with three schoolgirls
visiting the shrine one autumn day in 1981 to write their
petitions for love to St Valentine in the wire bound copybook left
at the shrine for this purpose (hence the title of the book -
which is set between Dublin, New Orleans and Morro Bay,
Thirty years later, when the girls are
in their forties, one of them returns home unexpectedly from
California, and when they reunite, they are forced to reflect and
examine the choices they made in their lives and wonder if they
were to do it all again, would they wish for the same things?
Itís a question I often ask myself, and
Iím sure you do too.
If you could do it all again,
live your life over, what would you do differently, if anything?
Looking back, there are episodes Iíd
rather forget, of course, things I wish Iíd handled better, or
certainly more sensitively when I was younger - but strictly
speaking - I wouldnít change a thing. Why?
Because I wouldnít be the person
I am today if I had.
Sure, there might have been better, more
advantageous choices to be made, paths to be taken, relationships
to have avoided - but in their own way each choice, decision, or
person, has taught me something valuable about myself - sometimes
something I would rather have
not known - but
nonetheless enlightening, if challenging.
And thatís the whole point of
life, and love, isnít it?
To keep learning, growing,
evolving - hopefully for the better.
It can be a difficult lesson to
Change can be an intimidating
prospect, not just to ourselves but to those around us.
Often there are a lot of people
(including friends and family) who have a great deal invested in
keeping you just the way you are.
They mean well, of course, but
when somebody changes or evolves, particularly within a
relationship, it can be threatening to those closest to you.
And sometimes, that change is
inflicted on you, whether you are ready and willing, or not.
When I was younger, I used to worry I
would never Ďget it rightí.
Now I know you never do.
And you know what?
Neither does anyone else.
I believe whatever choices you
make in your life there will be equal joys and sorrows along the
Some people are just better at
hiding the bad times, and I donít see much point in doing that.
When the bad times come (and they
will) thatís when you will often find love at work in your life in
the most unexpected manner.
If you find yourself stuck, or repeating
the same mistakes over and over, then my advice to you is to do
some work on yourself (if you donít, life has a way of making you
face up to what you need to work on one way or another).
Counselling or therapy can be a
life changing experience, often the best investment you can ever
make in yourself.
When we stop blaming other people
for what is wrong in our lives and ask the question:
could I possibly have
something to do with this? That is the beginning of
So you see thereís really no point in
wishing things were, or had been Ďdifferentí.
Even if they had been, there
would still be triumphs and disasters to negotiate.
The trick is to roll with the
punches, and try to learn the lessons along the way. Try not to
hurt other people, and try not to hurt yourself while youíre at
As for love, well, it can show up at the
most unlikely times and in the most unlikely places.
I should know (thatís another
I get it right, sometimes I donít.
But Iím thoroughly enjoying the
hasnít always been easy - but I still wouldnít change a thing.
And if you or someone you know are still
searching for love, why not try visiting St Valentineís shrine in
Whitefriar Street Church?
The love book will still be there, open at
the latest blank page, ready for you to write your very own
What have you got to lose? It
might be the beginning of a beautiful story...