Saturday, February 13, 2010

So...Tomorrow is Valentine's Day?

For the first time in years I am not spending at least part of the day before Valentine's Day buying trinkets, ordering flowers, and searching for that perfect heart shaped box of chocolates. While my daughter is my Valentine ever year, it does feel sort of odd not to be doing something this year that I have done for much of my adult life...and its just as well.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine's Day. It does feel like we are compelled to make a compulsory show of affection and attention for the special person in our lives. In doing so...I think...we trivialize the very emotion we are supposed to be celebrating.

Valentine's Day is in part cause and in part symptom of what we have done to love. We have packaged it, marketed it, and reduced it to a sentiment. We have dampened its fire, removed its teeth, and deadened ourselves to its possibilities. We have reduced it to a heart shaped box of candy and a dozen overpriced flowers.

Love is a verb. Its an action. Its a way of being. It compels us to put others first. When we tell our children, parents, partner, or lover that we love them...we are committing a revolutionary act against our own selfish inclinations and against the isolation that is a permanent feature of human life. We are telling them that we will be with them come what may. We are promising to look after them. We are also sharing with those we love the most precious thing we have, ourselves...and only when we love can we truly be ourselves.

Love is not a sentiment. It is not a box of candy. It is not a bunch of flowers. It cannot be expressed in a card. Love is hope. Love is a high stakes gamble. Love is the cure for what ails us.


  1. Tom, for years I've refused to buy things for my wife just because of the date. And bless her heart, she accepts the curmudgeon in me.

  2. We are totally doing nothing too... though a card would have been a nice gesture... this is my husband we are talking about... :)

  3. This is a perfect example of how men don't understand how much even just a "little thing" on Valentine's Day can mean to a women. Small gestures on a day like Valentine's Day for a woman are important whether they say so or not. A sermon on the definition of how love has been commercialized is an excuse and takes longer than it would to buy a simple card or single red rose. Try reading "Men are from Mars..." and enlighten yourself.

  4. Why is it I always resent sermons from those who hide behind anonymity? Fair or not, they just don't have any credibility in my book.

  5. Jeez, I hate to follow that but well, I did do the flowers, box o' candy and card of course. However, the best part of it all is what the kids did for their mom in decorating their cards with doodles and I love yous. Fact is, the little things are what matters and so, this pagan ritual is right up my alley - it's why we humans create these things. It's a way to focus the insanity of religion. Come on it's Saint Valentine's Day for Christ sake!

  6. I love anonymous was pointed out to me the other night I should have explained that I also do the flowers and box o candy...however this year was different in that I am not seeing anyone to whom to give candy and flowers.