Thursday, February 12, 2009

bah humbug....

Ok. I decided I should probably do my Valentine's Day 'bah humbug!' post today, so it doesn't spoil anyone else's actual Valentine's Day...or, to put it in a more positive vein, so that it may cause us to really THINK about the day before it actually arrives.

Please don't throw things at me or send me nasty comments, but I really do NOT like Valentine's Day. I never have. I'm just being honest here. To me, it is merely a Hallmark holiday--one created as a money-maker for the card, gift, and flower industries. And a "holiday" which creates--or at the least 'intensifies'-- dissatisfaction, aloneness, and relationship troubles.

I mean, really. Let's consider the scenario of many a Valentine's Day...

Men know they had BETTER get their wife/girlfriend/love-of-their-life a gift of some sort to show how much they love said loved one. If they forget, or if the gift is not just right, they are in some serious trouble, and may even be sleeping with Fido in the doghouse...

And the loved one... she has expectations of above-mentioned gift/card/dinner/flowers as a demonstration of the depth of his love! If he forgets, or if the gift is not just right, she experiences a range of emotions anywhere from a bit sad and morose to ready to divorce/break up with/take a frying pan to the no-good, unappreciative, thoughtless lout!

It's a set-up for disaster, if you ask me. And, I didn't yet mention those who are like me--single. In a society centered around couples and families, and on a holiday that is focused on romance and love and that one special relationship, the single person cannot help but feel not-quite-good-enough, forgotten, left out, lonely, incomplete, or just plain unloved. Hmmm. Somehow, the "holiday" doesn't seem like a day of flowers and sunshine and hearts, but instead, one which emphasizes one's singleness.

So, what to do about Valentine's Day?

Well, as for me, I am fortunate. I have a darling mother who never forgets me on Valentine's Day. I think she is even more conscientious about the day since I am single. She never misses a year of sending me her love with a card or a package, and I adore her for it. That's love. Years of always making sure I know I'm thought of and loved...and from many miles away, at that.

Some years I pull myself out of the Valentine's Humbug by sending cards to my friends. Or by making cookies or other treats for them. Some years I just can't "get there" and try to ignore the day altogether. Some years are a mix of the two--a bit of melancholy feelings counterbalanced by the wearing of pink and red to at least acknowledge the day.

I don't mean to sound like Oscar the Grouch. I do, however, want to encourage us to be mindful of what it is to truly love others as the Bible says "...according to their needs." It's not about ONE day of showing how much we love others. And, what is done or not done on that ONE day is not the indication that we love or are loved. It's not about flowers or gifts or Hallmark card moments--it's about the every day living a life of love with those in our lives. With our friends. With our family. With that one special person. And with each person with whom we come in contact--loveable or unloveable. We need to show them and tell them every day, every moment, in every word, and in every action, that we love them...that they are well and truly loved. Because that's how God loves us.

Yes, I know. It's a tall order. It's a tough command. But, it's what our Lord calls us to. Not one day of showing love--getting the right gift or sending the right card--but a daily walking in kindness and love and generosity, a putting the needs of others before our own.

That's love.
That's what Jesus did for us.

How about we commit to making every day a Valetine's day?
...for a great post on Valentine's Day from a man's perspective, take a moment or two to read Travis' Valentine's Day post from last year. I think it was very insightful, and I really appreciated what he had to say...


  1. If I knew how to get it to you, I'd send you a valentine. Or better yet, we'd have you come over and make valentine cupcakes with us. I know my girls would love it and love you! It's a terrible thing that a holiday can make a person feel so miserable. I remember being single and without boyfriend. I remember hating not getting anything ... those years I cared and years I didn't. You made GREAT points. We need to, must, show our love for each other all year round. Not just on Valentines day. I don't think you are a bah humbug! I'm glad you reminded me to consider someone else on Saturday. Several come to mind. We all need love and appreciation on Valentines Day! :)

    Plus all that ... Jesus is our valentine. And He is that every day of the year!

    P.S. Used your photo of the cow ... love him ... and linked you today! Thanks for blessing me!

  2. HEY! I like looking like a good husband one day a year! One good present, and my marriage is on good grounds until next year!

    I'm just kidding about that and actually feel the same way you do. I just can't believe these guys that can be jerks year round, then get one nice gift and feel like that makes them a good husband.

  3. Travis and you have shown great insight. V-Day has becomed so incredibly 'ritual' or 'commercial' these days, like you said, almost like a set-up, even more so in Japan. I guess many has lost its meaning behind?

    I don't think that you're a humbug, definitely not. I'm a little sick of the world's pattern too. When I was single, I was sort of indifferent to those lovey-dovey stuff around me, as I knew that God loves me, I've got my fav pet then, my friends who loved me too. To me, V-Day is a time to reflect and remember who loves and cares for me. And a time of introspection, have I loved, or loved enough, especially in Christ's love?

    Everyday can be a V-Day, if we've loved in a way and not asking for return. God has commanded us to love in deeds, not with melting coco and wilting flowers. Like you've said, it's a tall order indeed.

    I'm glad that I've come today to drop you a note in advance : You've been a great sister-in-Christ who has demonstrated much love to me, and I'm grateful, so very grateful to you, Sharilyn.

    Nevertheless, Happy V-Day, cos you've loved.

  4. Preach it, Sister! Good words.

  5. debra--thanks for the invite!! if i lived in your neck of the woods, i'm sure it would be wonderful fun! i love to bake and kids are a joy! you're too kind! :)

    dave--so... what great gift are you giving YOUR wife tomorrow?!?! :) (besides your undying gratitude and eternal love?!?) thanks for the laugh!

    and stardust...thanks for your comments and for sharing your thoughts and heart. and i appreciate your encouraging words of affirmation! thanks for the love!

  6. What am I giving my wife tomorrow? One little flimsy piece of cardboard with some writing on it that I had to pay FIVE BUCKS for! I'm not bitter though. :-)

    We're actually doing a Canada/New England cruise this fall which will count for all our presents this year.

  7. wow! that's awesome! (the cruise, that is, not necessarily the cardboard!! :))... i agree, cards are ridiculously over-priced! that's why i make all mine now! enjoy your valentine and the day with her!! :)

  8. Sharilyn-
    You are too kind to include me in your ranting. I've protested VD (kind of makes it sound like a disease) for many years. I absolutely refuse to acknowledge Val Day. Earlier this week I recognized my wife and kids as the special people in my life, and my wife thinks it's humorous how militant I am about Val Day. She knows I love her and that there is none other than her!

    You are a special person, Sharilyn. And I'm proud to call you my friend! Happy Friday the 13th!

  9. Can we get a solid, "Amen!" And I'm married and got cards and flowers.

    Still, this holiday drives me nuts.


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