A few years ago I wrote this post about how much I love Valentine’s Day. It’s cute and sappy and frankly, very valentine-y.
The post talks about how it doesn’t matter if you’re with someone or not, because the beauty of the day is to show anyone in your life that you love them. You don’t need a significant other to enjoy the day, because it isn’t about feeling loved, it’s about giving love.
See? Super cheesy.
I was very married, felt very much loved, and was very much in love when I wrote that post. And yet I still remember wondering how that post would come across to people who were single. Would there be eyes rolling in the back of heads thinking, “Well of COURSE she feels that way, she’s got a man by her side!” or “That’s easy to say when you’re not alone.” Perhaps there’d even be the silent click of someone deciding they were done reading my blog forever. Or single friends who decided I didn’t care about how the day made them feel. And, truthfully, as I wrote that post I remember questioning myself – would I really feel that way if I wasn’t married?
Valentine’s Day is quite a different holiday when you know that none of the goodies you see in the aisles are headed your way. When you know there will be no one there to tell you they love you, kiss you goodnight, and hod you till you fall asleep. When there’s no one out there that considers you to be their “special someone.” I totally understand why it’s known as “Singles Awareness Day” – not that I didn’t get it before, but now I get it.
I was thinking about all of this the other day as I stopped at the grocery store to purchase an anniversary card for my mother- and father-in law – who were actually married on Valentine’s Day. As I was walking to the card aisle, I passed an elderly gentleman with a glittery card in his hands. He was absolutely beaming. He moved to the side so I could get by, and I noticed the card in his hands said “to my wife.” It was quite obvious that he’d found the perfect card – it was written all over his face. I smiled and thanked him for making room for me, and that was the end of our interaction… but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him since.
Because here’s the thing: I ❤ love.
I absolutely love it. I love it in any form – my parents telling me they love me, even though I’m nearly 40 years old. My girls and I hugging and laughing together. The old man eager to give his expression of love to his wife. My in-laws celebrating their 43rd anniversary and yet still taking the time to send me a Valentine’s Day card letting me know how much I’m still loved by them. Texting my bestie to tell her I love her just because she popped into my mind. My students exchanging valentines. The puppy love I felt for my high-school crush. The memories I have of being in love with my ex-husband. The love God has for me that will NEVER end and I don’t deserve and will never understand.
I very deeply believe that love is one of the most powerful forces that humans can express. It is stronger than hate, stronger than fear, stronger than anger, stronger than pain.
I remember wondering when I wrote that post if I’d feel the same way if I was single. Five years later, and here I am – unexpectedly single. And after careful thought, I realize that I feel exactly the same way today as I did when I wrote that first post. I’m truly joyful for anyone who has found that deep, true love and has someone they want to bring heart-shaped goodies home to. But I do not in any way feel that having someone makes this day any more valuable. I loved being in love, and I had 14 wonderful years of being in love with my ex-husband. I pray every day that one day I’m blessed with the opportunity to love and be loved that deeply again. But until that day, I intend to celebrate Valentine’s Day by soaking up all the love I see around me – and putting as much of it back out into the world as I can.
❤ Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! ❤