Why Valentine’s Day frustrates me

So I’m the average person when it comes to love, I think. I like giving that special person a special gift and like to receive gifts in equal measure. I enjoy physical and emotional closeness, but need my space as well. Some people are more ‘romantic’, some are less ‘romantic’ than me. That’s the way it is, as it is for many things in life.

But today, for some reason, it frustrated me that Valentine’s Day was inescapable. It wasn’t just given a mention on the radio this morning – there was a whole explanation as to its origins. Supermarkets used this wonderful opportunity to entice people on a whole new level, right next to the Easter section (already!?). And then Facebook decided to explode photos and statuses regarding this wonderful day of love. Someone did go against the flow, wishing everyone a happy Friday – a read I welcomed and, of course, officially liked.

It is generally known that most people either hate or love Valentine’s Day, depending on their relationship status. And although I am just weeks away from being married, I have to say that the whole Valentine’s-Day-hype frustrated me immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I did my bit, got the card, got the present, put time and effort into it all, even enjoyed being creative about it. Yet in doing so, and in holding to the tradition, in keeping within the boundaries of what is expected of me as someone who is in a relationship (and therefore automatically ‘complete’), I felt like I was violating the strongest principle of love: choice.   

Apart from having become so commercially focused, it seems strange that we should have a whole day dedicated to love, when in fact, we could be dedicating the whole of every day of our entire lives to love, and not just to the one we love romantically, but to those who are hurting and need it more than those who already ‘have’ it. It seems slightly twisted that the one day that is reserved for love is in fact the one day that many people come to dread.

I didn’t think today would frustrate me as much as it did. But if we are called to be different in a society that glorifies conformity, then I want to embrace the idea of doing something different on a day like today. I have no idea where I will be on this day in exactly one year’s time. But I know that I have every day of every month until then not just to speak the words of love I have for those around me (and in particular that special person – there is no day reserved for that except every day!), but to act those words in everything I do.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

It’s certainly made me think about this strange concept of ‘love’. It’s complicated, especially in our modern day society. And yet, for Jesus, it was so simple: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-39).

So, let’s get loving!

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