My daughters have declared war on Valentine’s Day. OK, perhaps “war” is a bit too strong – how about we call it a “determined cultural protest”. Why? Because, in a nut shell, they are single and unattached, therefore, they feel that Valentines Day does not apply to them. Furthermore, the whole idea feels like a harsh reminder that they “have no love life” (their words, not mine).
Apparently, Valentines Day can be pretty darn depressing for those who feel lacking in love. I can’t remember ever feeling resentment toward Valentines Day during my “pre-love-life” years. But, I admit it’s been more than a couple of decades, so perhaps my memory just fails me. Needless to say, I would like to submit;
Valentines Day really is for EVERYONE – whether you’re single, married, attached, unattached, or anything in-between.
Here are THREE REASONS why my daughters – and any anyone else feeling a bit “love-lorn” this week – can see this holiday with a fresh perspective [and hopefully add a little smile] 🙂
Reason #1. Historically, It’s Not All That
Not surprisingly, our modern-day February 14th holiday evolved to what it is today from lots of conjecturing, folk lore, legend, embellishment and, [of course if we want to be cynical] commercialism. The true origin of the day doesn’t read like a Hallmark card! There’s very little known about the 3rd Century Roman Christian named Valentinius aka Saint Valentine. In fact, there may or may not have been 3 different men called Valentine, all now combined into one. Here’s what we do know:
According to the official biography of the Diocese of Terni, Bishop Valentine was born and lived in Interamna and was imprisoned and tortured in Rome on February 14, 273, while on a temporary stay there. His body was hastily buried at a nearby cemetery and a few nights later his disciples retrieved his body and returned him home.
– San Valentino: Biografia.. Diocese of Terni. 2009.
Hmmm… nothing like a little torture and death to conjure up images of a romantic candlelight dinner for two with roses and a box of chocolates … right?!
If you’re not so lucky in love this year, perhaps remembering the “real” story of Saint Valentine offers some conciliatory solace. Valentine definitely wasn’t lucky in love himself. When you really start to think about it, perhaps being someone’s Valentine doesn’t actually bode well… just sayin’.
Reason #2. Everyone Loves A Good Story
Sometime in the 5th or 6th Century, 200-300 years after the Valentine(s) died, poets and writers decided to include some nice “stories” about Valentine in the saint chronicles, which eventually evolved and grew into legends of epic proportion. The first basic story was that St. Valentine was martyred because he refused to convert from Christianity to paganism. That’s pretty straight forward, and probably closest to the truth.
Embellishment #1: While he was on death row, Valentine blessed and restored the sight to his jailer’s daughter, named Julia. Due to this miracle, Julia & the jailer (named Asterius) and all of his 40+ family converted to Christianity. Valentine’s death was not in vain! Yay!
Embellishment #2: Valentine and Julia were secretly in love… a convenient twist which allows us to forget about his whole downer torture/beheading thing, and celebrate romance instead! Yay!
Embellishment #3: Despite the martyrdom being in February (which is generally considered Winter) Springtime is much more conducive to love stories. Doves mate in the spring, flowers bloom, renewal of life and love abound… so – – the story is re-imagined in Spring. Now we can add some lovebirds to the story! Lacy hearts, red roses, blue violets, and maybe some winged cherubs, and baby animals. Pretty graphics for cards and screen savers! Yay!
Embellishment #4: The one we probably remember from grade school
On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “Valentine” card himself, addressed to Julia – the daughter of his jailer Asterius – who was no longer blind (and we assume had miraculously learned to read in the past few hours), signing his name as “Your Valentine.” The expression “From your Valentine” was later adopted by modern Valentine letters. Awwww!
In my school version, I remember there was a drawing of Valentine locked at the top of a high tower in the middle of a beautiful garden filled with animals that he could talk to (did someone get him confused with Rapunzel?!). He was handing his love note to a dove to carry to Julia.
Laying all cynicism aside, the Valentine stories are nice. They illustrate virtues of kindness, sacrifice, selfless love, and giving. All things that the world needs much more of, and definitely we can all embrace no matter what our “love life status” is.
So… Here’s a crazy little idea. What if we change things up a bit this year and make Valentines Day all about … LOVE.
I know, crazy, huh?
Not romantic love. Just the plain old awesome “love thy neighbor as thyself” kind of Love. What if we each decide to be someone’s “secret Valentine” this year?
- Think about all the people in your circle of influence – friends, neighbors, strangers
- Pick someone that you feel inspired needs a little love-boost this week.
- Write them a little love note, bake some cookies, buy a box of candy, just something simple and kind, whatever comes to mind- and then sneak it to them secretly.
- Be creative.
This could be a one-time event, or a daily thing. Go as big or small as you feel. The only “rule” is to spread “Love” under the “cover” of Valentines Day.
My theory is that Valentines Day just might turn into a new fave holiday.
Try it, and let me know how it goes.
Reason #3. No Matter What, You’ll Always Have A True Valentine
24/7, year-round, from before you were born, throughout this life, and beyond the grave. His name is Jesus Christ, your Savior, your Redeemer and your personal Heavenly Friend. The love he offers is greater and deeper than any other we may be fortunate to share during this lifetime. He lived for you. He died for you. Bottom line, you’re not alone. As a Child of God you are loved more deeply and completely than you can comprehend. So, hold your head high this Valentines Day. Enjoy the doves, cherubs and love songs. Embrace the divine love within you, and then pass a little of it on. – MoSop
OUR SAVIOR’S LOVE – HYMN, Sung By The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Lyrics by: Edward Hart / Music By: Crawford Gates
Our Savior’s loveShines like the sun with perfect light,As from aboveIt breaks thru clouds of strife.Lighting our way,It leads us back into his sight,Where we may stayTo share eternal life.
The Spirit, voiceOf goodness, whispers to our heartsA better choiceThan evil’s anguished cries.Loud may the soundOf hope ring till all doubt departs,And we are boundTo him by loving ties.
Our Father, GodOf all creation, hear us prayIn rev’rence, awedBy thy Son’s sacrifice.Praises we sing.We love thy law; we will obey.Our heav’nly King,In thee our hearts rejoice.