Lord Grantham insists that the police have been wrongly summoned and he bravely protects Thomas from the backlash of bigotry and homophobia. Given his own pathetic expressions of prejudice while he and his wife were not on speaking terms, it seems obvious that his wife's love and support are grounding him, guiding him through the terrible grief of his daughter's death, and allowing Lord Grantham to be the leader Downton wants and needs.
As a therapist, the connection between love, connection and compassion is a common theme. Obviously, a sense of love and connection is never a necessary pre-requisite for compassion; however, the relationship can be transformational. I once worked with a client in her thirties who had never experienced a relationship that lasted longer than a few weeks. By working through significant trauma from her past, and by examining her own pattern of choosing unsuitable, unavailable partners, she learned to make healthier relationship choices. A few months into a relationship with the man whom she eventually married she reflected:
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"I'm still the same person, obviously. But knowing that I have such a wonderful person to talk with and enjoy at the end of each day hasn't just made me happier. I'm gutsier. A colleague made a racist remark at the office and I spoke out in objection. And others chimed in to support me. The old me had all of the same views, I just lacked the confidence to express them."
Whether it is 1921 or 2013, the Valentine's message is clear: love is a powerful promoter of the best impulses of the human spirit.
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