Valentine’s Day needs a revolution. It’s a time of stress and obligation for couples and a day of dread for the single, divorced, or widowed. It’s a rush on overpriced roses, chocolate, and dinner out. It’s time to take Valentine’s Day back, people. Valentine’s Day is just what we need in the middle of winter or, if you’re like me, facing an inauguration that makes me feel alternately terrified and queasy. (I concede that some readers would’ve felt the same way if today was Hillary’s inauguration day.) Regardless, I believe everyone needs a little Valentine’s Day in their life this time of year, and I’m not talking about romance in any way whatsoever.
I attended two all-girls’ high schools, both named after the Sacred Heart (of Jesus). At both schools, we did a lot of fun, goofy things, often with French names because the order of nuns that ran the schools was founded in France. We had pajama days, all-school games of hide-and-seek (cache-cache), themed snacks (gouter), surprise days off to play games (conge’), and Secret Santa at Christmas (which we did not, in fact, call Pere Noel Secret).
It was in high school that I began to love Valentine’s Day. On February 14, or the closest school day, students, teachers, and staff, came to school wearing something red or pink. (Red was one of our school colors.) We put hearts on everything: classroom walls, clothes, tests. We shared candy and baked goods, or some club had a heart-themed bake sale. A few girls passed around the cheap but fun little Valentines we all exchanged in elementary school. You know, the ones you could buy at the grocery store, usually with cartoon or TV characters on them?
One of my high school classmates, Jill F., once said: “Valentine’s Day is a day that’s all about being cheesey!” (This was our high school term for corny, silly, childish things.) She was exactly right.
I could mention St. Valentine himself, a legendary martyred Christian from the first centuries of Christianity.
But we know very little about who this was, even if the stories of him secretly marrying Christians are true. Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday has never been of much interest to me or Mother Church anyway, and seems to cause more misery than joy, if you ask me. Being cheesey is much more fun, and much better for winter morale.
Around here, it’s been a grey winter. It was a hard Christmas without my Mom. We took down the Christmas tree last week.
It’s late January and I need some red hearts in my life. We have a Christmas wreath of red berries, and plush heart ornaments, so I repurposed them:
This past weekend, I went to Target and got: heart stickers, a heart-covered kitchen mat, bright red winter gloves, and a string of red, pink, and white wool balls to hang over the fireplace. I found some heart jewelry on Etsy.com. I found some mini paper valentines at World Market.
I want to try a few red recipes that have been on my list for a while – Red Wine Chocolate Cake and a Red Salad For Valentine’s Day (the blog where I originally copied this is now extinct). Maybe a nice bloody piece of steak, too!
I own a brown sweater with a heart on it, and a variety of red shirts, sweaters, shoes, and socks, which I am trying to wear in rotation.
I may or may not write a few Valentines – as thank you notes to people I love, including Adam. I will put stickers on things. I will bring some kind of silly cookies to staff meeting, which falls on Valentine’s Day this year.
I’m not sure if it’s the red, the cheese, the creativity, or the retail therapy that’s cheering me up, or some combination of all three.
God is love. Winter is hard.
Doing cheesey things is good for the soul.
Reclaim Valentine’s Day from romance! Wear red and pink! Make Valentines for everybody!
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12