It’s not all candy, flowers and sentimental doily-edged cards.
It may sound cynical, but this is one of those holidays that has little lasting value. Flowers die. Candy gets eaten. Cards are thrown away.
Yes, numerous engagements happen on Valentine’s Day. And let’s not forget the weddings that take place on February 14 to forever herald the love couples have for each other. A Hallmark movie played out in real life. Romantic love at its finest.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge proponent of love. But the reality of exclusion from activities that mark the celebration of this holiday, if there isn’t a “significant other” in someone’s life, is limiting. Unnecessary exclusivity. Like belonging to a privileged club where those who’d love to join can’t because they don’t have their “plus one”.
In elementary school, everyone had to have a card for every member of the class to hand out on this day. We girls would tease each other about which kids got the really mushy lovey-dovey cards from a guy, each of us secretly hoping we’d be one of the privileged few.
That changed when my kids experienced their own Valentine’s challenges. No longer an “everyone” holiday, people (read “guys”) could buy flowers in school and have them delivered to their chosen Valentine in class. I knew some parents also sent a flower to their child, so one year John and I had ones sent our kids.
The level of humiliation from receiving a flower from your parents was exponentially worse than receiving no flower at all.
When John and I were first married, he was gracious with gifts of flowers on Valentine’s Day and randomly at other times during the year. Then our kids came along. Our budget was stretched past the comfort level of such gifts. He wanted to continue the tradition, but being the more frugal of the two, I insisted he stop.
Besides, I hated watching flowers die.
I know many folks who don’t have someone who will share the bounty of love they long to give. Men and women alike who yearn for a special somebody who will see them and love them for who they are. Who will celebrate them and treat them as worthy of love.
We were created to love and be loved. To be seen and known, which is why we are relational. When rejection happens, it’s easy to want to self-protect, to keep people at arm’s length, to try to keep from feeling–hurting.
Of all the relationships we allow in our lives, the one that will satisfy the most is with God. One who loves us completely and knows us fully. One who sees us as worthy of love, even in our darkest, messiest times. A lavish love that is more passionate than we can imagine. Not based on what we do or what we can give God, but what He chooses to do for us. Through Jesus.
It’s love that’s better than a Hallmark Valentine movie.
Better even than chocolate.