I’m not a huge proponent of Valentine’s Day.
And I’ve got a husband I dearly love.
The history of Valentine’s Day is murky. There were several saints named Valentine, all martyred for their faith. There was a pagan holiday, Lupercalia, that was held on February 15 to honor the god of agriculture and fertility. In an effort to Christianize it, the focus became one of love and romance.
All fun facts to know and trade for the day.
The holiday has morphed into a retailer’s dream of selling jewelry, candy, flowers and cards. The depth of love equals the price of the gift.
We’re all consumers at heart.
I remember when my girls were younger, there was spirit of disgust in the hearts of those who had no boyfriends. The “I Hate Valentine’s Day” group became more outspoken as more kids brought flowers and balloons to school to send to their “beloved’s” in class.
If you left the day with nothing to show for someone else’s affection, you were seen a bit as a loser.
The comedy played out in that microcosm is the reality of life itself. Days after this romantic holiday, break-ups happened. Love was lost. Romance withered and died.
People moved on to the next great relationship.
I’m not a holiday hater. I’m quite romantic.
At least, I like to think I am.
When we were dating, and in the early days of our marriage, John faithfully brought me flowers to celebrate our love. Beautiful yellow roses.
I loved them.
But, as is the experience of all cut flowers, they died.
Roses go quicker than most. By day four, they were looking wilty and wanting. More water didn’t do it.
They were done.
John switched to carnations and daisies. They lasted a little longer.
Alas, they too died.
I didn’t want the symbol of our love to be a pathetic dead flower.
So I told him no more flowers. I don’t need candy–I might as well apply that externally. It’ll all go to the same place.
Jewelry doesn’t do it for me. I lose earrings, break necklaces.
So we don’t “do” Valentine’s gifts. Not that we don’t celebrate. We do.
I want to be able to celebrate real love every day. The kind that doesn’t wait for a holiday. The kind that can weather the forgotten gift or the small rift or the unpleasant words spoken in haste. The kind that doesn’t base its value on what is done for the one loved but on the whole of the person loved. Good and bad.
The way God loves us. Without condition. Sacrificially.
Love costs in a different way. In the ability to forgive. In spite of wrongs committed. To give of yourself even if you don’t feel you’ve gotten anything in return.
Jesus did that for us.
I can’t love John that way apart from Jesus in my life. I put too much stock in what I’m getting out of it.
I’ll enjoy my non-traditional celebration.
And look forward to the unexpected gifts of kindness. Or flowers.