As one who is always looking for a good reason to celebrate, it comes as a shock to my friends and family that I hate Valentine’s Day. Well, ok, hate is a bit strong, but I really don’t like it. It seems incongruent to them that someone who lives her life to love others has a strong distaste for the “day of love” set aside each year.
And yet that is exactly the reason that I don’t like it. It’s the “set aside” part that rubs me wrong.
Why, oh why, would we ever choose to live a life where we need to set aside a reminder to love our people?
I believe love is the ultimate act of self-expression, creativity, and spiritual practice. That’s far more than can be contained in a single day or through a bouquet of red roses.
If we’re doing it right, love is in all we do. How we tend our homes, do our jobs, check in with friends, care for a sick child….all of it, all of it is love.
Imagine if we lived our lives as if Love was the central theme of every day.
Classrooms would stay full of hearts and reminders that friendship and kindness make the world better.
We would have candlelit dinners with our partners, hanging on every word intentionally, feeling connected, even if it’s a regular old Wednesday and we’re eating frozen pizza.
We would leave little love notes for our kids, just because. Not because they made straight As, not because they cleaned their rooms when asked, but simply because they are the greatest little loves of which we could have ever dreamed.
We would celebrate Galentines with our girlfriends often and fully and raucously, recognizing that our friendships are a true act of artistry and connection.
I, for one, want to do these things every dang day.
A few years ago my sister-in-law and I were cleaning out my childhood home after the passing of my mom and her husband. We were stopped in our tracks by the number of love notes that were scattered around their home. Hidden in underwear drawers, in the pages of books, in a jewelry box, even the kitchen cabinet…where ever we looked we found little sticky notes of love from one to the other.
It was clearly a kind of “hide and seek” game they played, a way of reminding each other in the midst of a normal day that love anchored it all.
It was playful. It was creative. It was captivatingly gorgeous.
As a child of the 70’s I grew up with a series of comics called, “Love is….”. It featured two cherubic figures in a circle with hearts, declaring that day’s expression of love. The story goes that this wildly popular cartoon began as a series of love notes from the artist to her future husband. She would hide the doodles around the home when they were away from one another, a perpetual, playful reminder of their bond.
My husband is a stealth romantic. His friends and family, and even our kids, have no idea what a softy he is. He will text me in the middle of the day from work when one of our favorite songs comes on his iPod. He brings home a bottle of champagne just because we need to remember life is short and we should love it all the way. He never lets a day go by without letting me feel his amazement at the life we have created together.
I have been blessed with magnificent friends, who love me spectacularly through laughter, remembrances, heart-to-hearts and ceaseless spirits of adventure.
I shudder at the thought that we can get so caught up in the humdrum of life that we forget to love our people well. I wince at the thought that a day set aside each February seems to level out the forgetfulness, carelessness and absentmindedness from the rest of the year.
As I grow older, my desire to “make my way in the world” ebbs away and what flows into that space is my desire to “love my way in the world”.
My greatest desire at this stage of the game is to love fully, creatively and deeply on a daily basis, whether it’s through words, actions, or prayers.
And there’s just no way I can fit that into one day a year.
I’m not even sure 365 are enough.
But I’ll give it my best shot.