When I was young, Valentine’s day was the day which symbolized love and all things associated with this emotion. Everyone wore something red and looked forward to receiving cards, chocolates or flowers from admirers. Little did I know at this time just how commercial this day really was. My views today are so very different on the subject. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not as that I am cynical or jaded, but it really is a retailer’s paradise. Undeniably, it is a way to capitalize on sales of goods such as chocolates, flowers, jewelry, stuffed toys and the like. There is such a social pressure to buy into this. What happens if you cannot afford to buy any of these things for the person you love? Does it mean that one is undeserving or unloved if they do not receive a bouquet of roses from their significant other, especially when we know that we are loved? That would put me directly in the category of the seemingly unloved; should that be the way that we measure this great emotion called love. I have learned this wisdom with maturity over the years.
When my husband I and were first married. I prepared a lovely dinner tête a tête and he came to the table not even bearing a rose. I was so sad and honestly quite put out by his lack of enthusiasm that day. He said “Nice dinner cherie!” I replied “Thanks! Today is February 14, it’s Valentine’s Day in case you forgot!!” his answer kind of shocked me “We are married…Valentine’s day is only for people who are not married! Don’t you realize that it is just a commercial day?” Honestly, I was so amazed at his response and a little startled. In a way I rated my value and his love for me on the fact that he had not come bearing gifts. My husband was being brutally honest and in retrospect I understand his response but it was the way in which he had stated his opinion. In truth, it is a commercial holiday and not the one day of the year on which we celebrate love and those we love. Of greater value are the ordinary small acts of support and kindness as well as the sweet unexpected gestures throughout the year which are the best and most memorable.
Love for me is many things. It means family, it means sacrifice, it means respect and commitment. Love is also that one great emotion that can move mountains and make us better people. Love can creates lasting bonds and bridge disparity. Love has no dollar value nor does it have a price. Love cannot be forced; it has to be given freely. Love is such an important emotion that it is different things to different people. The Greeks classified Love in 7 different ways: the love of a mother, father, parent and child, the love of a friend, the divine love, the committed married love, the erotic sexual love, the flirting love and self love. It is a complicated emotion and is certainly not an easy one to define. People experience love in different ways.
As I sit at home today in a country which is bleeding and filled with uncertainty for the future, I reflect on what Love is. Today there is no Valentine’s Day here in the traditional sense. I realize that all of the turmoil and unrest, the hatred and disrespect, the pain and suffering could be solved by this one emotion… LOVE. If we as human beings truly loved one another and accorded the respect, caring and commitment to each other as fellow citizens, we could make the world a better place. Yes, this may sound corny and cliche but it really does make sense. If we could find a way to celebrate love everyday in some way instead of merely celebrating it on February 14 with flowers and sweets, dinners and treats, then maybe we would live in a different world. Food for thought everyone.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all !!