“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always and perseveres.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
In honour of Valentine’s Day every single parent I know is living through a very busy the-night-before getting heart-shaped things ready for the school-aged crowd. Evidence of this celebration is everywhere. The 14th of February is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year (according to the Greeting Card Association) with an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards sent each year. Even one of the gals I work with spent time on the 13th getting Valentines for her children… 25 and 28-year-old sons and their wives/fiancés.
I got home from work and felt like someone a hundred years older than I am. Hundreds (nah just a half dozen or so) of children (granted …my own) met me at the door asking if I had their valentine cards and stuff for their classmates. Yep…I bought those months ago…except, sadly, I cannot remember the safe location I stored them in. Try and explain to a Grade One student how you cannot remember where you put an item when you have placed it “somewhere safe.” Thank goodness for the local dollar store. Dozens of red, heart shaped lollipops … (albeit a few bucks later) and my raging mid-forties Alzheimer symptoms can (hopefully) remain a secret for another year.
For many years I never celebrated Valentine’s Day as that was the day many moons ago a stranger asked me out for dinner and I turned him down. That particular day I had returned home from working all day, and getting ready to go out with a male friend for dinner and then on to a choir practice. The stranger (who had bumped into me a few times in the lobby of my apartment building) had knocked on my door that evening with card and chocolates in hand. Not being someone easily deterred the stranger persisted asking if I might be interested in “going for coffee” after the choir practice. Here comes the embarrassing part…I had to decline again because I had already accepted another invitation for just that (actually more “coffee & dessert”) with another boy I knew. Thinking that declining this guy’s advances not just once but twice would completely negate another request from this guy…but no, the stranger persisted. Was I doing anything at supper time the next night (Feb 15th)? The stranger caught me off guard and I answered that I had nothing planned.
So I had dinner with the valentine-chocolate-bearing-stranger on February 15th and pretty much the rest is history. This summer we will be married 22 years! It is only in the last 3 years that we have celebrated Valentine’s Day on the 14th…most of my married life my husband has told everyone he refuses to celebrate Valentine’s Day as that was the day I spurned him!!
Among the crowd I run with, this question was posed on Facebook recently .. “why can love be like it was 50 years ago?” I will leave it up to you to imagine the type of responses that question drew. Many answers were centered on a male-dominated world of yesteryear where women could not easily stand up to abusive men. Another answer was to say that overall empowerment women have today (as a whole) compared with the societal restrictions place on women (in general) half a century ago- have created a more balanced arena in which to play the dating game. I watched to see how the teenage /young adult crowd would answer.
One answer that stood out was “Because 50 years ago when things broke we fixed them!” So true…our relationships were mostly maintained by face-to-face time, phone calls and the occasional letter. If something “went down” (or was misinterpreted) it impacted your life immediately and had to be handled in person. You worked to restore the relationship and did not give up on people. Nowadays you can break up by text, email and Facebook and then block the person you want removed from your life. Next step is to find brand new people to fill the void left by the friend you have thrown out. Same thing with marriages, breakup, move on, shop for new relationship (wash, rinse and repeat).
Valentine’s Day should be a day to remember everyone in life we love. Regardless of water under the bridge. If you truly love someone you will never give up on them no matter what happens or even if they give up on you. Love bears all things.
The Garden Goat
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”
1 Corinthians 13:7-8