Because the topic of love is expansive, I want to contain it specifically as it refers to Valentine’s Day, the culture’s designated day to celebrate and express love which we will commemorate this coming Tuesday. And I want to think of it as a progressive way we express affection and love over our lifetimes, from childhood Valentines cards to the expression of love as cherishing the one we love as we mature.
I’m of mixed mind about how seriously I want to take Valentine’s Day. On the one hand, how can I question the opportunity to give Love it’s day. But the curmudgeon in me says I resent the commercialization and thus the trivializing of what at least could be a sacred emotional ritual. So I offer this perspective that tries to rise about my reservations.
Typically we celebrate Valentine’s Day with a card, candy or flowers. The planning and effort it takes to choose a tangible expression of our love is certainly a commendable and usually a sincere means of telling the recipient that he or she is indeed special. But, of course, there are gradations in how special.
I remember the awkwardness in grade school when it came time to write Valentine cards. The whole school Valentine’s day ritual was a struggle with my integrity as I resented my expectation to somehow say I loved someone I didn’t even like. My mom pretty much insisted I give a card to everyone in the class, and I was given a whole stack of commercial cards to dutifully sign. And I wouldn’t really dare to send a larger, more expressive card to that special girl I kind of liked a little.
Valentine’s day during the courting period had its problems, too. Here was the opportunity to express affection and perhaps even some level of commitment. Flowers, candy and a card needed some reinforcement. Maybe an invitation to dinner. Or a piece of jewelry. But it was a bit of a cat and mouse game as well. Was the affection mutual? Did it have a future? Was the Valentine’s sentiment and expression a bit of a test? And if shot with Cupid’s arrow of infatuation the whole situation was even more potentially fraught with vulnerability that you could make a fool of yourself!
Now here I am married for a number of years. Cards, gifts and flowers will still be in the offering, but as we have aged we have found the best way to express our love is mostly spending extended time together (which we plan to do), celebrating the love we have shared, and continue to bountifully share, through the trials and joys of a life partnership, a relationship now more defined as cherish. Cherish is defined as “to hold dear; to keep or cultivate with care and deep affection.” Although the traditional wedding vows include the words “to love and to cherish” we still cannot know until some time later what it really means to cherish our beloved partner.
But at whatever age or era in our lives, may there be a special time and a place that calls us to express our love for one another, and, perhaps, to also express our cherished love of life itself.
With love to you all,
2/12/2023 08:31:27 am
Lovely sentiment is cherish.
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