a post written for www.knowgodknowlove.com,
Dear lonely single person,
Congratulations. You made it.
Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, you actually survived February 14th without a valentine to smother with affection.
Shocking, right? Who woulda thunk?
You went to bed that night and woke up alive and breathing the next day. In fact, you have been surviving quite nicely, long enough to stumble upon this entry that is slowly and sarcastically making you realize how irrational your thinking may have been just a short two days ago.
So hopefully you’ve gotten over it and have moved on.
If you haven’t, here’s why you should:
First of all, you must understand that not having someone to love does not excuse you from your duty to love someone. In fact, you have a God-given responsibility in this world to love other people, regardless of whether you yourself will receive any in return. After all, “love is its own reward,” and while this maxim is popular even among secularists, God-fearers will find deeper meaning in it — Christians are able to love unconditionally because they serve a God who is love (1 Jn 4:8).
Why is this important to understand? Because with this in mind, you can see the sheer stupidity of delegating a single day within a year to be “the day of love.” This has always puzzled me; it just seems counter-intuitive to what we are supposed to be celebrating. What it does, though, is it essentially focuses into one day what we ought to be doing everyday. And this funneling compartmentalization of love causes everyone to make a big deal out of something that should really be a daily part of our lives. A serious yet subtle ingrained fallacy lies in this mentality — people begin to prepare and obsess over this one occasion weeks prior, which often means that we will overlook what we can do to lovingly enrich another person’s life today. You don’t need to wait for the middle of February to love down on somebody and make their day… You can do it every chance you have.
By now you should’ve guessed the kind of love I’m focusing on. So hopefully you don’t go around kissing and holding hands with the everyone you meet. But it’s true, the love I am discussing isn’t the love often celebrated on this occasion. But what I’m saying is that for those who do not have access to the affectionate kind of love shouldn’t envy others who do. So if you (still) are, stop now… it’s unhealthy. In fact, the best relationships (that is, the relationships you should want) aren’t cemented with the lovey-dubby love so often displayed on Valentine’s Day, but are founded rather in the very love I was talking about earlier: the non-physical, non-feelings, kindness-based love that both singles and couples foster daily in their relationships with others. In truth, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of all the love fostered up until that point… which means that everyone, including singles with the right mentality, can celebrate the love they’ve already been nurturing and growing in their lives. Whether or not you have a companion to share the experience is moot, and you are instructed to love anyway. After all, single people are content in their singleness because they are not lacking in the love that actually matters.
That said, I strongly encourage you to not be bogged down by an occasion that doesn’t feel like it applies to you, and to please stop wishing that it would. That time will come with due patience, but for the time being you must not forget the love you have been giving and receiving weeks and months before your local grocery stores have been promoting the occasion. You can’t really mope around wishing you had somebody, because you do. Understandably, however, typically as a result of someone you want giving you the unrequited treatment, you’d be compelled to wallow in self-pity, but do your best to chin up and resist. You are strong, you are still loved, and there are people that still appreciate you. You do not need a culturally specified day to sincerely thank a loved one for their enriching presence in your life, you can do it any day you want. The important thing is that you do it. I promise, in some form or another, the act will be reciprocated.
You don’t tell people you love them with cards or because it’s a special day and everyone’s doing it; you’re not being romantic, you’re being predictable… Which, by the way, is not romantic.
No, you tell them you love them by telling them you love them… and you do this simply because you do, no matter the day.
So whether it’s an intimate companion, a loved one, yourself, God, or even an enemy, you have someone to love… everyday. And even more importantly, you will always have someone around you that needs love, so pay attention… everyday. If you want, you can pick up a bunch of Valentine’s day cards to give to them. They should be at an absurdly reduced-price by now.
But most importantly, you ultimately have a God who sees and knows everything — your desires, your emotions, your heart. If all else fails in this world, know that He will be your valentine… everyday.