From what I can tell, St. Valentine’s Day has its roots in the martyrdom of at least one Christian, all Valentine’s, on February 14th. Rather gruesome displays in fact. Much later Geoffrey Chaucer, author of “The Canterbury Tales” decreed the February feast of St. Valentinus to be associated with the mating of birds, which is apparently during the same month. Now I’m no historian, so let’s summarize these findings:
Celebrating love this month is a reminder to lay down your life, and much of our display is for the birds.
Please don’t get me wrong, I treasure any way someone sincerely tells me or shows me they love me. My daughter offered me part of her Valentine’s donut today. I don’t think she could say “I love you” any clearer than in that sacrificial gesture! Fire and ice roses? Yes. Chocolate covered strawberries? You betcha. Cards with words penned that mean 10 words for every 1 word written? More, please. My husband woos me, even after almost 10 years of marriage I am a sucker for however he chooses to shower me with his attention.
And my daughter is watching. She sees her Daddy loving her Mommy, and her Mommy appreciating her Daddy. She sees the dance, and she is taking it all in one smile and embrace at a time.
But what I want her to really learn from this celebration on the 45th day of the year, and specifically today on Ash Wednesday, is not so much about marital love – though we care deeply about that too. What I want her to learn from this holiday is that we can celebrate being loved long before we receive gifts that affirm we are loved.
My man, Grizz, scatters his attention on us throughout the year. I haven’t been waiting for today to know if he loves me, or see it especially in his gifts. I’ve known he loves me from the beginning of our relationship. His gestures merely affirm what I know to be true and unchanging, and my joy is in the faithfulness of his love. I receive it and I return it. It is this simple and sacred.
But I knew I was loved long before Grizz came along. His love is not what tells me I’m loved, it merely affirms what I already know to be true.
There are many things my daughter will mistake for love, gifts that she will have to wait on:
She will have to wait to get a phone.
She will have to wait to drive a car.
She will have to wait to go to college.
She will have to wait before she can date. (*Note the timeline of these gifts. Her Daddy edits these posts.)
She will have to wait until the right man comes along to woo her, like her Daddy woos her Mommy.
She will have to wait before she has children, and if she’s like her Mommy, she’ll have to wait for that call telling her she is matched for her baby through adoption.
My daughter will have to wait for some of her dreams to come true, but what I want her to know about love, is that we never, ever, have to wait for it.
Love already chose her. Love celebrates her. She doesn’t have to wait for love, Love is waiting on her.
As I move through my days with this little cherub mimicking my every move, I’m paying special attention to what she learns of love.
We celebrated St. Valentine’s Day together this morning, the three of us, with squeals and hugs and cheers for chocolate and musical cards and pink necklaces. Our souls need celebration! She received love from us first, from her Daddy and Mommy. She was filled with it, overflowing, brimming with delight. And then we moved into the day with full cups to pour out, and this girl lays it on thick ya’ll! To everyone she saw – the fine folks at Dunkin Donuts, the group of older men having what looked to be their Wednesday morning man group, the workers at Office Depot, at Hobby Lobby, the elderly volunteers at our city Carousel, the workers at Pie Five, and the kind nail technicians that did our mani/pedi’s: “Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!!!”
She expressed outwardly and shared with others what was already true in her heart: she is loved.
My girl has poured out her love today, the love she first received at Home. The love she didn’t have to wait for because Love came for her. And He came for all of us…Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!