This is a day set aside for the proclamation of love. Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine’s Day to be exact. It is a day many love and others loathe. Yesterday at church I asked one young boy if he was ready for Valentine’s Day. He replied that he was ‘doing’ his valentines that afternoon. I asked if he would be sending a card for anyone special to him to which he said: “No. They all have to be equal. I am giving pencils.” I was amused at the idea of this parceled out form of ‘equal’ love.
Later in the day, I visited the children next door where there was a bustling of Valentine’s Day preparation. Sitting on the kitchen counter was the brightly decorated box with the slit in the top which today will be the doorway for all manner of heart adorned cards, small chocolate bars, red candy hearts and probably a few pencils. All forms of recognition to the box owner of sentiments of friendship and perhaps even a kind of love.
Returning home I called my mother to wish her an early happy Valentine’s Day. We laughed together as we remembered the many similar boxes we had decorated over my childhood. We also laughed at the ways in which my brother had approached a holiday he found very challenging, including the pain staking deliberation he executed as he chose cards that would not imply too much love to those he barely even liked.
In some ways this day is a little sad. Why do we need a special day to declare our love, or even our like, to another person? Instead, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had decorated boxes sitting outside our doors every day? Boxes in which we would find notes of affirmation, love, good energy, even prayers from those whose lives are entwined with ours? What if we chose any day, a Thursday for instance, of every week to send just one such note to someone? Think of the difference this act would make to that person, and probably to us.
How we express our love comes in so many forms, most of which cost nothing, and certainly less than the hundreds or even millions spent today on roses. Not that I have anything against roses because I certainly love the ones that graced our dining room table this morning. But acts and words of love are a gift we have to offer that costs us little and reaps much.
Over the last few days I have seen the power of love in so many places. In people reaching out to others who needed comfort. In music being made. In stories told of how they were healed by the touch of another’s presence. In food being prepared and shared. In hearts made from red construction paper. In laughter that cut through a difficult moment. In hands that dried tearful eyes.
Days set aside or everyday, ordinary days can be times for sharing the transforming power of loving words and actions. The ultimate result of love brings many gifts. Affirmation. Recognition. Wholeness. Healing. Belonging. The artist and poet Jan L. Richardson writes:
Within the space
of human loving –
in the wonder of it,
in the strangeness of it,
in the completely common
rarity of it,
may you find
your healing and
Valentine’s Day or any day, isn’t that what we all desire?