The flower section in my grocery store has exploded with pink and red flora. My Pandora station has swelled with saccharine advertisements for well-priced diamonds, irresistible lingerie, and everlasting love.
But, dear reader, before we’ve put the roses, chocolates, grand gestures, or broken hearts behind us, I have a valentine message for each of you.
Dear persistent cynic,
Thanks for bothering to read a Valentine’s Day post. I know you don’t want to be here and I appreciate that you’ve humored me. According to eNation, an estimated 233 million roses were purchased for Valentine’s Day, 2013. With you, I surmise that a small fraction of those roses have been gently dried and treasured—to feebly collect dust and splinter off into a hundred little pieces. The others, I imagine, have been tossed—long ago composted or incinerated.
True, we have kept Hallmark and ProFlowers in business. We can laugh at and see through our cultural quirks and clichés. But are we attempting to protect our fragile hearts by seeing through everything in our path? As C.S. Lewis wrote, “You can’t go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see.”
Skip the clichéd roses, if you wish. I pray you don’t skip the risk, affection, and love that they intend to convey.
With a wry smile,
Dear lonely mourner,
You have loved and lost. Alfred Lord Tennyson would like you to believe that your situation is preferable to never having loved at all. I think he has a point, but I won’t exaggerate the silver lining on your cloud.
Perhaps this year’s found you signing divorce papers or placing flowers at your loved one’s grave. Perhaps you feel trapped in a loveless marriage or splintered by a broken engagement. Know that you are not alone.
Lift your eyes to the One who designed relationships—the Author and Creator of love. Introduce yourself to your lonely neighbor. Boldly love a friend in need. I pray that you know great healing and joy and joy and risk love once again.
With a tear in my eye,
Dear pining singleton,
You’re not exactly with someone right now. I know… “why don't you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!” (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Perhaps you’re planning to have a wild night in—complete with wine, chocolates, and sweatpants. Or maybe, as HuffPo so aptly illustrates, you’re wildly ambivalent about a possibly-maybe-special sort of person… and you maybe, sorta kinda want to spend time with them. (Side note to my peers: let’s put our big boy and big girl pants on and practice our communication skills).
Well, you and I have quite a lot in common and we could have quite a long conversation on the topic. But, if you’re submitting your love story to your Creator, I pray that you answer this eloquent call to a full and fruitful life.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid,
Dear incandescently happy lovebirds,
It is a sweet thing to see head-over-heals love. The Bible has a whole book about how you get lost in each other’s eyes, etc, etc. I hope this holiday is just one more way that you can honor, respect, and treasure the apple of your eye.
Know that the world is watching you. If you are married and have children, your commitment serves as a source of blessing and stability—for your kids, your church and your community. For a less romantic, more statistically-driven discussion, feel free to check out the annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.
I pray that you treasure your gift of romantic love—not flaunting it about as if you’d earned a badge of adulthood, or letting it be weighed down by age, stress, busyness, or competing love interests.
And keep making time to bring broken, unattached, and single friends into your life. You may, perhaps, ask them if they’d like to be set up on a date. Whether or not they accept the gesture, they will benefit from your friendship and from the stability and joy that flows from your romance.
I am glad you exist,
Your (Just-Friends) ValentineMedia: