Sunday, February 14, 2016

On Valentine's Day

Another Valentine's Day is upon us. It is always an interesting day of the year for me; we live in a culture, in a society, that likes to try to make us feel lacking if we are without a significant other. Singles have the propensity to feel on Valentine's Day what I might imagine a woman deeply desiring children might feel on Mother's Day; I could be wrong. I am not a woman who has wanted a family since the days of playing with dolls, but I can imagine that it is a hurt that nestles in deep under the collar bone and these days of the year - single days earmarked for celebration in some capacity - have an intrusive way about them that can quite blatantly sucker punch someone with the reality of what they don't have, but want. Or, at the very least, are consistently being asked when they will obtain said thing by well meaning family members and friends.

I've had quite a few Valentine's Days with no significant plans or significant other. And I used to feel alarmingly bad about this. What must it say about me that in the days leading up to this one day of pink and red and white, I have been found spending too much money on supplies to make handmade valentine's so that I wouldn't feel so bad about not having one person to shop for. What does it say about me that I found myself getting pissy over the many posts of flowers and chocolate and jewelry that my friends were receiving, all in the name of love? I was finding myself becoming one of those people that shouted obscenely about Hallmark and it's attempt to raise their sales on the 14th of February every year -- I was white hot mad because each year they were missing the sale of one card - the one that I should have been receiving; the one I so desperately wanted.

This day, ya'll. This day has a way about it that will allow you to feel either chronically happy or acutely aware of what you're missing.

But I've been thinking . . . As I sit here typing this out, there is a beautiful spray of yellow roses, daisies, and lilies on my coffee table from two people that took the time to surprise me. And last night, way too late, I made a not so wise decision, as a bit of a glutard, to eat a donut that two other people had dropped off at my house as a surprise. And last night I shared a meal with one of my dearest friends.

And who is Hallmark, or the media, or this culture to tell me that that's not big love?

I don't know where you're at today. Maybe you woke up and you knew exactly what your plans were because someone took the time to plan a whole day for you - to celebrate  the love they have for you. Maybe you woke up, next to your husband or wife, and you don't have plans, but you smiled knowing that you have a valentine year round - and I am convinced that is one of the best feelings. But maybe you woke up like me -- in a bed with no bones lying next to you. And guys? That's okay. There are certainly mornings I wake up and I feel the emptiness more than anything. I can feel the ache of wanting what is not yet here. And that's okay. But one of my people is always quick to say a particular set of words to me in instances where I'm prepared to blow the kazoo to begin my pity party of one: "feel this, but know I won't let you sit in it."

If you feel sad today, or mad today, or broken because it's another "day of love" that you don't have a date for, feel that. But don't pull the blankets over your head and make a fort in it.
This is something I'm always having to work at. Consistently, I am having to allow myself to feel what I need to feel but reminding myself that this is not a life lived - holing up in my house with junk food and milk and sappy episodes of Grey's Anatomy or the exact same plot line with a different title written by Nicholas Sparks; it is not a life lived to sit and list all of the things I do not have and feel cheated for. It is not a life lived if I am not celebrating the people, the moments, the things I do have.

Feel your feelings. My God knows I definitely do that. But know that, wherever you are, however you woke up, a girl in Dayton is cheering for you - whether you have a Valentine or not.

Because you are more supremely loved than you can even imagine - and you have a tribe that will be quick to remind you. And, hey, if you don't have a tribe, find one. Name them. Make each of them a part of your life and piece of your heart.

One of the best things I ever did for myself was find my "persons" and name them and call them my tribe. I let them see the grime and grit and they still choose to stay. To stay is to love out loud.

It's another Valentine's Day. But it's also a Sunday. So I may not have a date that I need to get fancy for, but this has been a week of me realizing I am wildly loved and fiercely protected and I do absolutely nothing to deserve either of those things. But He chose to die for me and fight for me, even when He knows I'm going to try to run from both of those gifts.

I will save you the cheesiness of claiming that Jesus is my Valentine. I won't say it. But I might say this.

He loved me first. Before my babe parents held me in their arms. Before they argued over what to name me. He loved me. He saw me. He created me and knew that I would be stubborn and reckless with my heart and body; He knew I would run from Him, and often; He knew I would hit brick wall after brick wall before finally realizing He was the one who built it up for me. He loved me first.

So today, on Valentine's Day, that is also a Sunday, I'm going to choose Him first back. And I'm going to keep choosing Him first.

So, holler at a girl, Hallmark, when you wanna make a card for that.

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