Editorial: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up a week from Tuesday. Are you prepared? These days when we think of Valentine’s Day we think of flowers, greeting cards, and chocolates. Don’t get us wrong, we love all those things, and we will be getting them for our significant others.

This holiday, as most do, actually has its origins in religion, in this case as a liturgical celebration of one of the early Christian saints named Valentinus. Valentine’s Day first became associated with romance and love during the time of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love first flourished. By the time of 18th-century England, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers and hopeful lovers expressed their affection for each other by presenting flowers, offering candies, and sending amorous cards. That tradition carries on today. Hence, the “are you prepared” question.

Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers. It is a day when everyone can unabashedly open their hearts to say, “I love you.” Our young children are encouraged to make cards for the parents, grandparents, and others. Why can’t we the adults follow their lead and send a card to someone to let them know we are thinking of them? Better yet, why can’t we gather those around us, who are most dear, and spend time with them?

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what do you think of? We think of our loved ones – yes, but we also think of others that are far from those they love. We think of the young men and women who are serving far from home to protect our freedoms. Those who stepped to the front of the line to volunteer to serve their country miss many holidays. We want to send them a Valentine’s message of thanks, gratitude, and love.

We think of those whose loved ones have passed away and are alone. We want them to know they are not alone. Whether you have lost a parent, spouse, or child, whether you have lived a full life or are in the middle of your journey, you are not alone. While you may grieve privately, we as a community embrace and celebrate your love.

We should not need a day like Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day for that matter to let people know they are special. We should tell them all year long and often. Romance and affection should not be dictated by the calendar, but rather by what is in our hearts. As we have commented on before, our community is fast-paced and hectic, and that is not a bad thing. But we mustn’t lose sight of what is important – our loved ones. We should make sure that we, as children, parents, spouses, let those we cherish know we love them, support them, and embrace them on a daily basis.

Yes, we will be stopping by our favorite florist soon, and we will make reservations at a cozy restaurant. It is not supposed to be very cold so we may have to find an excuse for a fire in the fireplace. We most likely will find a fun movie to watch as a family. Truthfully, that is how we like to spend most weekends. In our house Valentine’s Day is not an excuse, it’s the norm.

Nicole Krauss wrote in “The History of Love:” “Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs, or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled, or she was pulling someone’s hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted – wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don’t look at me. If you don’t, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.”

Are you prepared?

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