By the time you read this, Valentine’s Day will be over. I know this is true, because as I write this, Valentine’s Day is happening.
I know, other writers are far more forward-thinking than I, and hence they wrote their Valentine’s Day pieces weeks ago, so as to be read by you the public as the “holiday” was happening.
But, to be honest, Valentine’s Day just hasn’t been on my radar. And so I didn’t think about it until today when, coincidentally, it’s time for me to write a blog entry.
I have written previously about the problems Valentine’s Day created in my various “coupled” years. Too artificial. Too much pressure to manufacture romance. It becomes a sort of bogus “barometer” to the health of a relationship. Heaven forbid you’re having a bad day on February 14th. Or the roses are wilted. Or he didn’t go to Jared. The average up-and-down couple in the average up-and-down relationship just can’t consistently live up to the hype.
Now, in my current non-coupled state, I really don’t have a problem with Valentine’s Day per se. It’s a celebration of love. So let’s let the lovers celebrate. I’ll thank God for the people I love, and then I’ll do my taxes and clean my kitchen and finish whatever else needs to be done today. It’s a good day.
But alas, for some reason, large swaths of the media seem to feel compelled to focus their attention not on the lovers we are celebrating, but on the singles who are not. A quick Google search brought me plenty of examples: “Being Single on Valentine’s Day: A Survival Guide”, “Two Ways to be Happy Being Single on Valentine’s Day”, “Seeing Red on Valentine’s Day: A 5 Step Survival Guide for Singles.” There is even a movement to designate Valentine’s Day as “Singles Awareness Day” (acronym S.A.D., in case the more subtle messages were lost on you.)
Why? Why must everybody assume we’re miserable? Why do we need multiple “survival guides”? Why does other people’s happiness have to somehow hinge on our misery? Why does nobody believe we can simply be happy for those who are celebrating, all while going about our business and appreciating the beauty of our own lives?
It all strikes me as a little bit condescending. It’s like the little brother at the birthday party. “How are you doing, Timmy? It’s NOT your birthday. Are you sad that you aren’t getting all of the attention? How does it feel not to be the one getting the presents?” Just let little Timmy learn that every birthday isn’t his, and that he can still enjoy the party and be happy for his big sister.
I don’t need attention on somebody else’s big day.
It’s not my day. It’s their day. And I’m okay with that. It didn’t really feel like “my” day back in the days when it was supposed to be “my” day. But I digress.
Please, singles, tell me you don’t need all of this. Because if you can’t come up with “Two Ways to be Happy on Valentine’s Day” without the help of a Wiki article, your problem isn’t Valentine’s Day. It’s your life.
Look around. Did you wake up breathing in and out this morning? Do you have family and friends who love you? Is God still in charge? Is Jesus Christ still your savior? Do you have a sweet new Honda Accord in your garage? (No, wait. That’s just me.)
Then why, on a Hallmark-invented “holiday,” do you suddenly have to justify your existence or lean on “survival guides”?
The point is, romance isn’t the only reason to be happy—on February 14th, or any other day. Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers (whatever that means) to celebrate their love, not the day that singles’ lack of romantic love is somehow judged from afar by St. Valentine. (Who, incidentally, was arrested, beaten and beheaded. Just saying.)
It’s not just about Valentine’s Day. It’s about life. We are unique individuals, loved uniquely by God, on unique paths. Neither society, nor Hallmark, nor anyone else, can narrow our fulfillment or our happiness down to which box we check on the census form, or how we celebrate a “holiday” that was never intended for us. Our lives—and our paths to heaven—are far more complex than that.