By Denae Jones –
Valentine’s Day is often referred to as a Hallmark Holiday. I’d argue that it could easily be named ‘Stressful Day’ or ‘Depression Day’ or ‘Awkward Day’. I’ve had years when it made me happy, and years when I despised it. I’d say there is a small degree of all of that for most people.
If we just started dating someone, we might be stuck in that situation where it’s too soon to give them a gift, but rude not to acknowledge it at all, so we have no idea what to do. Awkward! Even if we are one of the lucky people who are totally in love on Valentine’s Day, there could still be a little stress that comes with it. Should we buy them a gift or make something or take them out to dinner? Will it make them feel bad if we get them something and they don’t get us anything? Is the gift romantic enough or thoughtful enough? That part really shouldn’t matter, but somehow it does. Whatever we do, if we are in either of those categories everything will probably be just fine as long as we make sure we don’t forget about it!
For those of us who are in a bad relationship or just went through a break-up, it can be painful to watch people around us getting cards and flowers and balloons. Just the thought of all of the mushy hoopla makes us want to barf. Or punch something. Or both. The four-letter word that comes to mind is probably not l-o-v-e.
Some of us may have lost a loved one since the last Valentine’s Day, and find ourselves alone for the first time. It might be the first year we don’t receive a card or gift, and it just magnifies the heartache of their absence. If this is you, I’m sorry. Know that you are still loved!
Yes, love it a tricky thing. We all want it until we get hurt by it. We don’t want to let ourselves get too close, because we might get hurt again. We’ve all been there. We let someone in. We let them see our vulnerability. We share our secrets. We trust them. And they let us down. They hurt us. Maybe we loved someone fiercely and not been loved in return. Maybe we got burned. Maybe we burned someone else. Sometimes, in order to protect ourselves from our own feelings, we keep everyone an arms-length away because we just don’t want to go through it again. I get it.
What we need to remember is that in order to get hurt that deeply, we must have loved deeply as well. And would we really want to miss out on that? The smiles, the closeness, the friendship, the good memories. That part makes it worth it. At some point, we have to let the love surpass our fear and trickle in again. When that happens, we realize how much happiness we have been missing out on by holding love at bay. I guess I’ve always been one to agree with Julia Roberts’ character in Steel Magnolias, when she said, “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
Maybe this year our Valentine’s Day looks nothing like those Hallmark commercials with the great romantic relationships. That’s okay. Because no matter what our story has been in the past, we can write our own story for our future. There is always someone we can give our love to. I challenge each of us to step outside of our comfort zone this year and give a Valentine to someone we know needs a smile. Maybe it’s a child in foster care. Or that person from the soup kitchen. Or an elderly neighbor. Maybe it’s someone in a nursing home, or that person who is alone for their first Valentine’s Day. Reach out to them with a card or a phone call, or stop by to visit. I guarantee both of you will walk away feeling a little more loved.
And above all, if we find ourselves in a place where we feel like love is lost, remember that nothing is beyond God’s reach. No matter how broken, how lost, how lonely, how sinful, how hurt we are, God still loves us. No matter, no matter, no matter. There is no better Valentine than that. Have a blessed week, friends!
Did you enjoy this article? Check out more stories like these in Denae’s devotional journal called Love, Joy, Peace. Available at places such as Worthy Publishing, Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, & Christianbook.com