You know, Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap. Between people who say “I don’t need this day to prove my love!” and those who say “WHY DOES IT MATTER I HAVE NO ONE?”, it just seems really depressing.
And of course, there are always snarky remarks involving Hallmark cards.
But I think everyone needs to take a step back and actually look at the day itself, not the trappings surrounding it. (Personally I think this goes for any commercialized holiday, but I digress.)
First off, who was Valentine? (Which sounds a lot like “who was phone”, but until someone names their kid “Phone” it will be different.)
Not much is known about him. The myth that he married soldiers before they went off to war is just that-a myth. What he was known to do was marry and give aid to Christians at a time when everyone’s favorite entertainment was seeing one of those “blasphemers” get eaten by lions. He also purportedly healed the blind daughter of a judge, and the judge’s family converted as a result. The emperor was pretty fine with him until Valentine tried to convert him, upon which he was beaten and beheaded. (Anyone else notice how often they had to behead saints to get rid of them? I’m thinking Highlander.)
What is all this about, then? Well, it wasn’t originally about romantic love. You can thank Chaucer for that. But since we’re on the topic of love, I want to point out something.
Love isn’t just those mushy fluttery feelings one gets around a love interest. Romantic love might be that, but love goes beyond that. For example, the reason some couples stay together so long isn’t because they have the fluttery feelings all the time, but that they continue to do loving things for one another even when they’re not particularly fluttery. And on that note love can extend to others, since it isn’t centered just on romance. Love can be shown through a kind act, a simple hug, an encouraging word.
Today, as Dale and I were heading out the door to have breakfast, we found our old Chinese neighbor outside cleaning off cars. And then we noticed he had cleaned ours as well, and was moving on to others. This? This was an act of love. On a cold snowy day he scraped and clean cars so no one else had to.
So, the moral of the story is that Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about being mushy with your significant other (though that’s fun as well). If you don’t have one, do something nice for someone else. Give a coworker a candy bar. Something. You don’t even have to buy a Hallmark card.
(All information about St. Valentine taken from Wikipedia.)