Monday, February 13, 2012

Expanding Valentine's Day

When I was a child, I once heard an adult scoffingly remark how silly it was for children to exchange Valentine cards—Valentine's Day was for grown-ups, for couples.
      That really stuck with me, and when I was a teenager, Valentine's Day was generally depressing. 
      (One year though, the unthinkable did happen: an FTD truck actually drove down the long dirt road that ended at my house in the boonies with a dozen roses for me! But since they were from a nice fellow whose feelings I didn't reciprocate, after a flash of excitement, I just went from feeling sorry for myself to feeling sorry for him and slightly guilty too.)
      It stuck with me too when my eldest kids were little—I didn't take too much notice of Valentine's Day with them. Not until that year that we went to the library for what would prove a memorable storytime.
      The librarian was reading a children's book about the meaning of Valentine's Day. Inwardly I groaned. This is so ridiculous, I thought. But then I started paying attention. It was about a child who was making a valentine for her grandmother. Valentine's Day, the author asserted, was a day to show our love to one another.
      It hit me like brick. How sad that I'd missed the point for so many years.
      (But I don't think I'm alone in this misconception. And I still think it's silly or kinda weird that some kids' valentines say things like “Be mine”. Chalk up another one for the greeting card industry, I guess.)
      At any rate, since then, I've seen the holiday in a different light. Of course, I make sure to express my love to my husband—we always try to do something special. But I don't limit it to him. I try to make sure my kids feel loved too. And that they express love to others as well.
      So if you're feeling left out this Valentine's Day—remember that there's no need to. Get busy.
      We who try to follow Him who is Love Incarnate should all be busy on Valentine's Day. Reach out especially to anyone who might be lonely today. Your widowed father, the little old lady next door or in the next pew. There are Eleanor Rigbys in all our lives. Be a channel of God's love and thoughtfulness to them.
     And if you can, try also to visit Jesus, the most neglected Lover of all.

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