Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Valentine

It takes courage to love.
I was lazily combing through the store with no real mission when I came across the Valentine’s Day cards. The cynical part of me that rallies behind the “Valentine’s day is nothing more than a commercial holiday” winced as the pink and red hearts attacked from every angle, but the other part of me was compelled, even drawn towards them. I didn’t really have anybody in particular that I needed to buy a card for, but I looked none the less. Maybe somebody out there needed a little touch; a little reminder of love.
I searched for a card that expressed that. I wanted to say something like: I am happy you are in my life and I hope you know you make my days better. Believe it or not, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Why aren’t there any cards that say, Hey, I was thinking about you. I know there have been good days and bad days for us both, but you’ve been there through it all and I wouldn’t be where I am without you. Maybe those cards don’t exist in the form of Valentines because it’s what we should be saying to each other every day. Maybe it’s a sentiment that can’t be truly expressed in just a card; even the one’s made by Hallmark.
The thing is, we all define love differently and far too many people are walking around starved for love and feeling all alone when they don’t have to be. I am reading a great book by Alabama native author Andy Andrews. It is called The Noticer which is about someone who has the true gift of perspective and notices things in life that others do not. I’m calling you dear readers to do the same; to start opening your eyes and noticing.
I think the real problem with this holiday is that the valentine’s aren’t circulating the right way. Maybe they are getting lost in the mail. Maybe they’ve disappeared, but nonetheless the message isn’t being received. The love isn’t being shared. Do we honestly think that one random day in February would be enough to counteract all the things we don’t say the rest of the year or all the moments we let slip away?
I once had a shirt that said, It takes courage to love. I thought it looked cool, but I failed to realize the truth behind the sentiment. It takes more than just courage to be that person that makes a ripple in the pond; to be that person that makes sure they don’t let anyone in the circle of people God has given them ever run empty on love. It takes you making an effort.
Have you ever heard the story about St. Valentine? He lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius couldn’t get men to sign up to be soldiers because they had a strong attachment to their wives and children. To solve the problem, Claudius banned marriages. Valentine felt the ruling was unjustified and unfair and continued marrying couples in secret. Valentine was discovered and executed on February 14, 270. Legend says that before he died, he sent a note to the jailer’s daughter who he had befriended simply signed, From Your Valentine. That brings a whole new meaning to candy hearts and paper cards, now doesn’t it?
What would it look like if we took accountability for the people in our life from co-workers, to life-long friends to the lady that checks you out at the grocery store? What if you took ten seconds to be the valentine that said I’m glad you’re alive? I’m glad we’ve encountered each other in life. I’m so incredibly thrilled God decided to have our paths cross. The people you share your day with are no accident. Remind them that “God is love” by being the love. You may not be a shiny, pink and red heart shaped Reese’s or a bouquet of roses, but you can make the same kind of difference. You can follow St. Valentine and be a defender of love and a friend till the end. Oh what the world might look like if we all learned to be noticers.
Go out and bring it to life this week. Show others they mean the world to you. Happy early Valentine’s Day dear reader. You are loved and you are valued.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8
-Only Hope-It takes courage!

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