A Holiday of the Heart
I was barely sixteen, and had never really been in love before, so my context of Valentines Day had been confined to the giving and receiving of cards and treats in classrooms. Working one of my first jobs, as a clerk in the neighborhood pharmacy, I noticed the undulating waves of last-minute purchases of boxed Fannie May chocolates, drug-store roses, and awkwardly worded Hallmark cards professing love to the lucky recipients.
“Perhaps the saddest day of the year” one of my co-workers quipped. “So many people won’t be receiving cards or flowers”.
It was one of those watershed coming-of-age moments that leaves an indelible mark on an impressionable soul. I had always equated February 14th with love, romance, and joy, even if I wasn’t quite sure what romance meant.
But I did know love.
I knew the love of my single mother, who despite being in the midst of her tumultuous bout with cancer, while raising five strong-willed children on her teacher’s salary, loved audaciously. She told us of her love constantly, through words, hugs, kisses, and her relentless sacrifice to care for us.
So the thought of Valentines Day being a day of sadness had never occurred to me. Mom had made sure we had cards and candy to give out, and found a way of surprising us with her own little gifts or gestures of affection. A Spider-Man Board game one year, or a jigsaw puzzle the next. She had a way of reminding us that we mattered. We were her pride and joy, and we were loved.
So as another Valentines Day has come upon us, what a great opportunity we have to remind those around us they are loved. The people who cross our paths at home, or work, or in our community, matter to us. We see them. We recognize that they compose a unique set of blessings for us, and we can take a moment to express our gratitude for their presence in our journey.
To my friends, family, colleagues, and community, whether our paths currently meet, or crossed before, thank you for the kindness you show me everyday. I love you all. You matter to me, and I’m blessed because of you.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. – Victor Hugo