Ah the dreaded Singles Awareness Day. The day when all those lovebirds show their love for one another because a greeting card company says you should.
Ok, I’ll admit that sounds a little bitter and if I were in love, I would not complain if I were gifted with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I do love flowers.
But have you ever stopped to wonder why we celebrate Valentine’s Day and who was the man behind the name? Well, I’m here to help you out with that one since I already did a little bit of research. Although the history of the saint for whom this day of love honors is unclear, one legend tells us that Valentine was put to death for performing marriages for young lovers in secret. Roman Emperor Claudius II thought that single men made for better soldiers and for this reason he outlawed marriage. Believing that these young people in love had a right to be married, Valentine defied the emperor and stood for what he believed in.
(If you’d like to read more about the history, check out History of Valentine’s Day)
The government tried to outlaw marriage, but Valentine knew that they could never outlaw love. Who is to say that whom you love is wrong? Love is blind. Love sees no gender, no color, no age, no tax bracket, no ethnicity, no religion, no borders, no nationality, no intelligence. Even Forrest Gump once confidently stated, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.”
What is love? Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is beauty. Love is compassion. Love is peace, harmony, trust, faith and equality. Love is unexpected. Love is crazy. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love is pain. Love is weakness. Love is strength.
True love is the most powerful magic.
Love transformed a beast into a prince.
Love woke a beauty from a deep slumber.
Love protected a boy from the most powerful dark wizard that ever lived.
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ~Victor Hugo
There is so much unknown about the world, why we are here and what we will do with our time. Some people have their faith and beliefs. I personally don’t know much about that but I can tell you this much:
I believe in love.
On a day like today, I like to remind myself that love is not just for lovers. Love is for friends and family. It’s a smile shared with a stranger. It is expressed in the passion that one has in life. Love of music, love of sport, love of learning, love of story, love of laughter or love of adventure. It is written in our books, sung in our music, captured in our photography and depicted in our films. I have traveled the world and I have met many different people from different walks of life. I have shared smiles and laughter with strangers. I’ve been welcomed into communities and homes of those who had never before met me. People have shared with me their stories and their culture and they have asked me about mine. From these encounters with people I have met along my path, I have learned that when we strip away ethnicity, culture, religion and nationality, I really don’t think we are all that different from one another. That at the very core, we all basically want the same thing out of life. To survive, to provide and to thrive. I am not so naive as to think that there is no hate or violence in the world because I understand this exists everywhere but if you look beneath the surface you’ll find that love exists even in the darkest of places.
“Love, actually, is all around.” ~Richard Curtis
Even though I can seem bitter and ungrateful on a day that reminds me of my chronic singleness, I will get behind the idea that today I can recognize the legacy of a man who stood for love in the face of injustice. Who never gave up on what he believed to be right even when the leader of the people did not stand for freedom and treated his soldiers as resources of warfare rather than as human beings. And even though Saint Valentine lived thousands of years ago, his defiance of injustice rings relevant as ever. When a leader of a nation does not lead for all of his or her people equally and justly, we must continue to stand for love in the face of injustice and remember that golden rule of which we should live by:
do unto others as you would have done unto you.
So go forth and celebrate this day of love. Tell your lover you love them. Tell your parents you’re grateful for them. Share a hug with your brother, your sister and your friend. Eat chocolate and exchange romantic expressions of love. By all means, let us celebrate love! But I personally will also take a moment to remember the legend of the man this day represents as a reminder to always love thy neighbor as thy self and to continue the long-worn battle of creating a better world for us all.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.