Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Dark Side of Valentines

Once upon a time there was a girl who was heartbroken...always heartbroken and searching for love. It seemed no matter where she looked, she was never someone's valentine. Sure, she'd get the candy hearts and stuffed animals from her friends and her family, but she longed for more. She longed to know she was special. She longed to be loved by someone special. It seemed like the day would never come.

Many a tear were shed on her pillow, noses wiped on her sleeve. Many a brave smile were flashed in assurance to the world that she was just fine. Inside, the longing left her so very wounded. 

Whatever the reason - the fairy tales, the lure of the perfect boyfriend, the understanding of love to mean romance in this culture - whatever the reason, Valentine's Day was always met with heartbreak and tears. Then the day came when she finally had that someone for the big day. That day she realized the longing wasn't about candy or romance. What she had suspected all along, that Valentine's Day as we know it is a farce, was all confirmed. It wasn't just a way to torture the singletons, but a torture for all of us who had fed into the lie that love was about some fairy tale romance filled with large gestures and great sex. It was a lie.

The dark side of Valentine's Day leaves so many feeling so very alone. It inspires many caught up in the whirlwind of young love/lust/infatuation to lose their senses. It puts pressure on so many men to find the right gift, create the perfect date, come up with the grandest gesture...all to demonstrate this love to the world. 

I'm not a Valentine's Day grinch, though in former years, I may have abbreviated the holiday VD and meant it. I just know how much it hurts to be alone when the world is telling you that on this one day you shouldn't be, that someone special out there should be getting you something or doing something special. 

As the years have gone on, that lonely girl discovered that her life was filled with love, even on those Valentine's Days where she wasn't dating anyone. Sometimes even more so then, because it was filled with authentic love, not gestures contrived to fit with a theme for the day. So to all of you who are lonely, longing and wishing, know this. YOU ARE LOVED. Valentine's Day is just another day on the calendar. Every day is a chance to find love, to give love, and be loved. If it makes you feel better, buy yourself a box of chocolates and stomp them to bits (cheap ones). Then buy the good ones and treat yourself. 

To those of you who know people who are single, lonely, hurting - SHOW THEM LOVE! I was absolutely late to the game this year. Time seems to fly by with two toddlers in the house. Take the time on a day like today, when so many begin to feel lonely and bitter, to show them the sweetness of a loving heart, romantic or not. Invite them to lunch/drinks/dinner, take them to a movie, celebrate the love that they share with you, send them flowers, write them a sweet note...something. Sure, it might take some time away from your "other half" if you're married or dating, but hey - you've got other days to celebrate that. The world is throwing their loneliness in their face today. Defend their honor. It's a horrible place to be when you feel like you cannot be loved or are not worthy of it. While we know that is a lie, it is a lie that envelops us in its power when we are hurting. 

Celebrate the love in your own life - show your special someone how special they are - but be especially kind to those who are alone and not loving it. After all, the only darkness on Valentine's Day should be the chocolate. (And for heaven's sake, don't tell them that Jesus loves them and that should be enough. They know. It just so happens, you can know that and still feel terribly lonely when there is a longing and desire in your heart that goes unfulfilled. So, maybe show the lonely the love of Jesus by doing something kind for them.) 

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