My wife and I made a choice very early in our relationship that Valentine’s Day was not going to be a ‘have-to’ thing for us. We would watch the stores fill up with cards and candy and hearts all screaming “I love you” in one way or another as if this was the only day those words were allowed. As if this is the one and only day throughout the whole entire year that you MUST tell the one you love how you really feel and if you don’t then your love must not be real. You missed your one chance to be open and honest and loving and caring. February 15th ought to be called Broken Heart’s Day for those who forgot, messed up, or ignored the day before. Stores could sell special boxes of gray tissue for those unhappy tears, and all the candy in those left over heart-shaped boxes could be repackaged in raggedy brown bags for your “stay-home-alone-and-watch-a-sad-movie-chocolate-binge-night-because-you-missed-your-chance-and-will-never-find-love-again” party. I know I’m being a bit dramatic, but do I really need one day in the whole year to be set aside for me to do what I should be doing each and every day?
I’m not against Valentine’s Day but I do take issue with the idea that this one day has become a kind of barometer of how much someone loves us, disregarding all the big and little things they may do on the other 364 that scream out, “I Love You!” I can walk into just about any store and pick up a card for just about any reason, any day of the year, for anyone I care about and make them smile. I can go into any florist and buy something as simple as a daisy for my wife to show I’ve been thinking about her, (or if I give it a bit more thought, a tulip because I know it’s her favorite). Or better yet, pick a few flowers for free from the field on the way home from work on a hot day in July when I’m tired, cranky, and sore. It might look a little weird seeing this middle-aged balding man traipsing through a flower-strewn field on the side of the road searching for that perfect daisy, but love can make you do some crazy things. I could cook dinner, hold a hand, give hug, or watch a rom-com chick-flick when I’d rather see some sci-fi adventure. I could do the laundry, watch the kids for the day, pay attention, listen and hear, and yes, I can actually say the words “I love you” every day…out loud and unashamed. Should we really expect all that we ought to be doing the other 364 days of the year to happen on 1 day? Will showing love on that one day be enough to last for the rest of the year?
Love isn’t a feeling or an emotion that is strong one moment and gone the next. It isn’t vengeful or unbelieving or timid. It doesn’t hide when times are tough and it doesn’t wait on the sidelines. Love is an active, alive, bold, and compassionate choice that we make each and every day. We make the choice to love or we chose not to…it is that simple. I don’t need the calendar to tell me when to love because I have a savior who has shown me how. He chooses each and every day to be patient with me and kind. He chooses not to be envious, boastful, proud, rude, selfish, or keep a list of my wrongs. He does not smile when evil gains ground in my life, happy I’m getting what I deserve. Instead he shows me the truth, tries to protect me, trusts that I’ll make better choices, has high hopes for my success, and always encourages me to press on even when things are tough. He has never failed me and never will. This is what love is. I’d rather have this kind of love – and try my best to give it – each and every day than store it all up for that one day in February.