It's over. Valentine's Day 2010 has come and gone. For some it was extra painful this year with one full day at work/school to celebrate the Hallmark holiday and a whole weekend of chocolate covered mushiness. But alas, it has come to an end. Breathe deeply my friends. We made it.
I have to confess a little something here. I LOVE Valentine's Day. Now, that is. For years, it didn't matter what I did or how the rest of the year looked, I could never manage to have a Valentine on V-day. Being a single woman on V-day is rotten. I wanted that ooey gooey mushy madness too and I swear...if one more friend at school or co-worker got flowers, I was going to grab some scissors and go Edward Scissorhands on them. I know those feelings because I've been there. But in 2001, all of that changed. That was my first V-day with hubs and I've had special Valentine's every year since. So of course, now I love it...sorta.
It's over commercialized. Yup...totally. It's expensive and everyone feels stressed and over pressured to find gifts. Check. If you're like me and have a tricky guy to buy for, it's hard to sift through the vast array of corny and cheese ball gift ideas in hopes of finding one that says "I love you more than life itself...we just don't have the money to spend a fortune to prove it." I mean really, how many golf certificates can one guy get? (Little bit of a personal joke there.) And mostly, shouldn't we be celebrating the ones we love every day? Maybe not in over zealous spending on things that die and make us fat, but in going the extra mile in our marriage or relationship. And shouldn't "I love you" day be for everyone and not just couples? Shouldn't we send our girlfriends cards telling them how much we love them? What about our parents or grandparents? And shouldn't we do that, literally, from the heart, not just because Hallmark (who I love by the way) tells us this is the day to do it?
1 Corinthians 13 is one of my all time favorite scriptures because it so clearly defines love for me. And...it's beautifully written which speaks to my poetess heart. But what about John 3:16, where we learn that God loved us so much that Jesus was given to us and chose to die for us so that we might live? I was in Cokesbury the other day looking at Lenten resources when my friend pointed out this trinket, a nail, on a little card. The card said something to the affect that it wasn't the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was his love for us. I'd never really thought quite that poignantly about it and it struck a cord in me. I knew Jesus' love for us is why he endured what he did, but I guess that this day, I needed to hear it differently. We think the nails held him up there, but that was love.
Love takes a multitude of shapes. It can be romantic love, brotherly/sisterly love, love of a parent or a child, love of a friend, love of neighbor, love of God and love of a Savior. No matter what Valentine's Day means to you, challenge yourself to think of the bigger implications of what LOVE means for all of us in our everyday lives. And don't forget to love yourself..."love your neighbor as yourself" isn't a part of one of the greatest directives for no reason...but in order to truly love the others in our lives, we must know what it means to love ourselves. But in this beautiful and mysterious power that is God, if we focus on loving others, we find that we discover what there is to love about ourselves. Either way you go, as long as your loving, your living. So love someone.