The greatest thing you'll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.
(From The Moulin Rouge Movie)
Love is a good thing. We like love, we want love. We go to great lengths to get love. But the act of loving does not come naturally to us. For love, in it's truest form, requires vulnerability, authenticity, sacrifice and risk. Love requires exposure of truth and repentance of our heart. These are not easy things. It takes work and it's messy. Counterfeit love (infatuation, lust, addiction, instant connections) can seem so much more enticing and exciting. Counterfeit love offers us an escape from our lives. But if I'm honest, (and if I'm open to love) I really don't want someone to take me away from my life, with all it's challenges and pain and problems, I want someone to walk with me through it.
Relationships are a good thing. We need relationships. We need connection and touch, support and companionship. But do we really need a “Valentine's Day”? Do we really need a special day set aside each year for the sole purpose of celebrating love and expressing that love to one another? I do. Not only do I need Valentine's Day, I think Valentine's Day should be a bigger deal than it already is. Businesses and schools should close for the day. After all, celebrating love and relationship should be a worthy enough cause to have the day off to spend with family, friends, and your significant other. We could name it the “14th of February” and have fireworks; Cupid could dress up with his bow and arrow and deliver flowers and cards and chocolates. Children could have a Valentine chocolate hunt in their backyard. Family could gather around the dining room table for a feast of a Valentine dinner. Carolers could sing their favorite love songs around the neighborhoods. Which songs would you request?
Holidays are a good thing. They remind us of what's important. And what's more important than love? (I'm not talking exclusively about romantic love – Valentine's Day is an important day to express our love and appreciation to all of our friends and family.) Yes, it's relationally important what we do on February 13th and 15th and all those other regular days of the year (minus your birthday and anniversary). But we need Valentine's Day because truth be told, we aren't any good at love. We need a day set aside to remind us not to take our loved ones for granted, to invest in the work relationships take, and to take the time to celebrate our relationships with friends, family members, and our significant other. Relationships can be great teachers of love. Are we open to becoming a better lover? Not technique-wise or learning the latest seven steps but living and loving from our heart, more freely and more honestly, with the people in our lives.