Today is Valentine’s Day – at least in our United States, it is. I hope it is a happy day for all of you, but not because it is Valentine’s Day. Just because I would wish you a happy day every day. I would wish you a life filled with love and joy and beauty without the calendar telling me it is the day to do so.
I remember when I was a young child, cutting hearts out of red construction paper, celebrating this Valentine’s Day holiday with a party in our class. Back then, in those tender days of youth, the day was simply that – a day to have a party, to pass around cut-out hearts. A lot like May Day in the days of my youth, when we would put together little baskets of candy and leave them on the doorsteps of our friends, knocking then running away. A day to play.
As I got older, Valentine’s Day became less important. I suspect in the later grades of school it seemed important to me to have someone ask me to “be my Valentine”. Now? Now I think I would rather have my loved one give me a demonstration of his love just because. Not according to the calendar, but just because he wanted to. That demonstration doesn’t need to be a dozen roses – I can think of many other ways I would rather spend that money. That demonstration could simply be a hug, a pat on the back, an “I love you”, a meal prepared by him not me.
Of course, those demonstrations should go both ways. I should give those same demonstrations of love. Look! I washed, dried and folded your dirty clothes! Look! I bought your favorite treat while I was shopping – or for those who are more industrious, I made your favorite treat! Even those daily events can be demonstrations of love, don’t you think?
There are a couple of holidays that have been commercialized more than they need to be that I think are more important to be recognized. The anniversary of making a commitment to love one another is an important date – a date to say thank you for agreeing to be with me. Thank you for adding value to my life.
Birthdays too. A birthday is the one day that is unique to each of us. The day of your birth is yours – celebrate each year that you add to that life and invite your loved ones to celebrate with you. Those celebrations do not need to include major gifts – a card, a verbal “I am glad you are in this life” – those would be adequate.
All of this to say I think we should give whatever we wish or are able to give to our loved ones because we choose to. Because we can. When we can. When we choose to. It means more coming from you on a day that the world doesn’t proclaim to be a day to give.
Give because you can. Fill your baskets with enough.