Thursday, 14 February 2013

Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad

Hopeful 8   Hopeless 2

The title of this entry comes from how we were taught to say Happy Valentine's Day in Spanish in high school.  I thought it was a good idea to call the holiday "love and friendship day" and have become a particular fan of the expression in recent years.  It encapsulates what Valentine's Day is all about.

When we hear "Valentine's Day", we conjure up lots of images.  Many of these images are chocolates and flowers and big red hearts, but the rest of them tend to be of couples.  Our culture focuses on having a Valentine to spend the day with.  This is such a limited view of what the holiday is about.  Saint Valentine did marry couples against the edict of Emperor Claudius II, but the first Valentines were actually letters to his friends from jail.  So from the very beginning, this story has been about love, not just romantic love, but love in the greater sense.  In fact, the person of Saint Valentine shows all aspects of love: romance, friendship and devotion to God.  These are all things he lived and died for.  That is what Valentine's Day is supposed to be about.

Whatever happened to the days in elementary school when you would get a Valentine from every student in the class?  Am I the only one who grew up in a school like that?  I remember filling out 30 or more of these mini store-bought cards that had messages such as "Be mine" or "Happy Valentine's Day".  That made everyone feel special and included on that day.  It seems when we grow up, we lose that sense of the importance of spreading love to the people around us.  That is such a shame.

I have gotten trapped in the paradigm of needing a Valentine on February 14th.  It is difficult not to get sucked into that feeling.  I think it is understandable in the society we live in to feel lonely on Valentine's Day if you are single.  I would see so many girls going by in the metro or on the street with roses.  It made me feel sad that there was no one to get me flowers.  I realized, though, that that is completely the wrong way of looking at it.  I started getting flowers in the metro or on the street and bringing them home for my mother.  She loves flowers; they really cheer her up and are quasi-therapeutic for her.  If you are thinking about how you are not getting flowers, you are focusing too much on yourself.  Go and get flowers for someone else and I guarantee you will feel so much better.  My mother has been my Valentine since I was a little girl and she will be as long as I live, whether I am dating or whether I am not.  The best part is that you are not limited to just one Valentine; you can have as many Valentines as you like!        

So go out and find people today.  Take the time to send them a message and tell them that they are appreciated.  Organize something with your friends and family.  Make an occasion!  Valentine's Day is not just for couples, so get together with the most important people in your life and have a great time.

Feliz Día del Amor y la Amistad

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