Thursday, February 14, 2013

the truth behind valentine's day...

valentine's day is almost over. amidst all the flowers, all the cards, all the chocolate, we've somehow missed the meaning behind the day. i stumbled upon a blog post today by one of my good friends from college, doug. his words shook all the preconceived notions from my eyes and reminded me why we celebrate this day.

before you go any further, take a moment and read the post here on the blog, "the outpatient monk." 

what a great reminder of why we celebrate this day. whatever your religious beliefs, this day was set up to honor a man who made the ultimate sacrifice in the celebration of the love of others. 

"So the Christian Valentine is not one who is wildly enamored, flush faced and dopey eyed.  In fact the Christian Valentine is not even in love with a single person at all. Instead his passion made other’s passion possible."

the idea that a man would choose to marry people, in the midst of war, in the midst of government opposition for purely selfless reasons is what brings meaning back into this day. it is a day for celebrating sacrifice, hope, and the love that there in all of us. 

perhaps my favorite part of the post comes at the end. while the day is almost over, we can each do these things in honor of this day after the page of the calendar turns. here are doug's suggestions:

If you find yourself without a Valentine you are best posed to be one: (isn't that line fabulous?)
1) donate to an organization like Angel Tree, Inside Books, The Innocence project, or other organizations that care for prisoners.
2) support non-violence organizations like Christian Peacemaking Teams, or Amnesty international who watch for moments when the state becomes too willing to expend the lives of others.
3) Or in the spirit of St. Valentine, make a sacrifice of an evening and babysit or help a friend pay for a romantic dinner.  Love the love in others.
Not sure what to do with your spouse tonight?
1) Stay in, eat cheap, light a candle and look at wedding photos.
2) Write a note to members of your wedding party about how they have supported your relationship.
3) Let your single friends know how important they are to your marriage and/or children.
4) Tell your children about all of the people who have helped to raise them and keep them well.
oh how i love this. i love the reminder that valentine's day is about love and hope, not about bunches of flowers and chocolate. i love that in celebrating love and loving one another, we honor the day as it should be honored. i think this post might have forever changed my life for the better. 

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