This week is the lead-up to Valentine’s Day, a very busy time for chocolatiers, florists and jewelers. Cards and candy hearts bearing expressions of love are flying off the shelves.
I remember this holiday from my childhood as one of dread because of the custom of giving Valentine’s Day cards in school. I worried that I would not receive any or many. I feared being excluded because I was not one of the popular kids. I feared the cards I gave out would be rejected or found wanting.
For me, this holiday was not a celebration of love, but just another way to touch my insecurities and make me anxious.
Even though I grew past those early feelings about this holiday, I have remained aware of the cultural expectation of it and of those who still may feel left out, those who may see it as a spotlight on their loneliness.
Several years ago, someone made a comment that reminded me of the impact Valentine’s Day can have on those who feel excluded. So, I decided to celebrate February as the month of love, and each day, I sent a little note to let someone know I was thinking of him or her.
Mostly I sent these notes to people who would not be getting Valentine’s Day cards or gifts, those people who look forward to February 15.
I so enjoyed writing those notes that I did it again the next year and every year since. It has become something that I look forward to, and it has helped me to be excited for the holiday.
Each day in February, I devote part of my prayer time to thinking of those in my life who may be particularly vulnerable or sad or lonely, and I send a note. The notes are usually just a few lines, expressing my gratitude for our friendship or my hope for their peace.
It is a small act, I know, but one that I hope brings a little light to someone’s life.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?