GENDUSA COLUMN: Rethinking Valentine’s Day
Published 9:30 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Valentine’s Day, complete with Cupid, candy, cards, and caresses, is one of those holidays folks often squabble over. Some believe it is propaganda to line the pockets of florists, chocolatiers, and card manufacturers everywhere. Many folks think it is a day to show how much we care about another. Some men and women disappoint their partners when they don’t align with Valentine’s Day romance. Those who live alone, or have lost a loved one, can tumble into depression, feeling a profound sense of loneliness.
So, is Valentine’s senseless, unnecessary, and frivolous? Maybe not if we look at February 14th through rose-tinted corrected lenses.
Humans survive catastrophes, diseases, persecution, anger, and other vile earthly rocks thrown at us, but we do not do well without love. From the minute we are born, we thrive on tenderness and touch. Our nature is built on finding someone to share our space, see our smiles, and comfort us in our trials. No, without love, we truly are just sounding symbols and empty souls.
I know Valentine’s Day is typically considered a stamp on romance, but does it have to be? Thousands of folks live alone, but they love. We use love every day like sugar on the table, and it is there to make our lives enjoyable and sweeter.
Who doesn’t love love?
St. Valentine was a Roman cleric who was martyred on February 14th, approximately 269 AD, for ministering to persecuted Christians. God used him to serve others with care and deep concern without fear of death. What love he unselfishly gave.
God sent his son to us out of love, and his command was to love one another. We fail miserably when we don’t. Folks say it is easier to hate than to love, and it is because love requires heart, and hate requires nothing. Love produces kindness, compassion, and happiness. Hate delivers anger, emptiness, and contempt and is dangerously contagious.
My mother lived for 90 years, and by the time she left this earth, she had given away nearly all her possessions except a small box. In the container were items that meant the most to her; pictures of her children, grandchildren, and letters. Among them was a letter my father sent her before I was born. They were married for 60 years, and in the early days, they must have struggled, as all couples do. Dad wrote the two-page letter to apologize and express his deep love for her and their baby son. The box also held homemade valentines I created as a little girl and a few other cards and notes that were significant to her.
Her last possession was a little box that held nothing but love.
Of all the holidays we might need to rethink, it is Valentine’s because we could all use what it represents. Hate dominates the news, but love must take a stand and be noticed. And it all begins with each of us recognizing that we can love a thousand ways and what a blessing it is.
God requires us to boost our hearts and show how much we care about the neighbor next door or the stranger in the store. It’s okay to select a flower, card, or candy bar to remind a partner, friend, or family member how special they are.
When I began dating my husband and our first Valentine’s Day rolled around, he thought the holiday was trite and unnecessary. I quickly said, “Valentine’s is not about your personal belief; it’s about others’ feelings.” Today, he remembers a card or a rose when February 14th is displayed on the calendar. Smart boy.
Even after we lose someone and the pain is intense, we still are thankful for the opportunity to know such joy. When our hearts are broken, and love disappoints us, God’s promised love embraces us and emboldens us to move forward.
Years ago, an old boyfriend decided I would not continue being his girlfriend. Breaking up is always hard, but that ending was brutal. I began dancing late at night, listening to old music. I imagined myself back in dance class with Miss Moody, and the joy those dance lessons, recitals, and performances gave me.
I asked a psychologist friend, “Why would I stay up late dancing my heart out?” He responded, “Because you loved to dance so much, it is helping to replace the love you lost.”
Love of friends, family, partners, puppies, kittens, or dance reminds us to appreciate the joy and saving grace it brings.
Make Valentines important because, to someone else, it is.