That Saint Valentine was actually onto something…

The term “greeting card holiday” carries much disdain and an unmistakable negative connotation…perhaps because those who utter said phrase often do so with such venomous undertone. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and most notably Valentine’s Day are the three most oft-cited culprits. But mom and dad must wait, for it is Saint Valentine whose influence I noticed this week. Now it is believed that Valentine himself had far less to do with matters of romance and the heart than the holiday which bears his name now represents. Imprisoned and eventually beheaded for marrying Christians in ancient Rome at a time where such a union was illegal, Valentine’s connection to the vast realm of love likely ends there. In fact even the date February 14 was chosen by Pope Gelasius I, hundreds of years after the death of Valentine, as a day for a feast in recognition of revered holy men, Saint Valentine being just one of many.

Despite the uncertain origins of the holiday, and regardless of the reaction it receives each year, Valentine’s Day holds an important message that (if taken to “heart”) would no doubt bestow only joy upon us all. Lost in today’s society is that spark of true romance and unrelenting love. Anniversaries and birthdays alone should not be the only events in which we make an extra effort for those most important to us. At one point in each of our love lives we all tried just a little bit harder…to convince her to go on a first date, to get him to quit smoking, to remain bedside with a tray of soup and tea, to dodge the nurse down the hall announcing the end of visiting hours, to propose in such a way that she would (fingers crossed) actually say yes. And most importantly to show him that you (and only you) can love him that much. Valentine’s Day might be the perfect example of what is both so good and so bad about the human condition. It emphasizes that yes, we do care, but simultaneously exposes that no, we don’t show it often enough.

February 14 may be today on the calendar, but Valentine’s Day should be tomorrow, next Thursday, and the Monday after that, but not just because of some conflicting plans delaying the celebration, or a sold out favorite restaurant. Call it a greeting card holiday if you must, or chalk it up to the the material world gone mad, but what I noticed this week is that while the initial spark of new love ignites the flames of passion and mystery, it is within the eternal heat of the white hot coals that lie beneath where true love lives on in the form of trust and acceptance, long after the fire has inevitably simmered. We should strive to make Saint Valentine proud, and besides no matter how long it’s been since you were struck by Cupid’s arrow, your valentine still deserves it…

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