Valentine’s Day is almost here and you may still be searching for that perfect gift, planning that perfect evening or looking for just the right words to express how you feel.
Over the years, my perception of Valentine’s Day has changed quite a bit. I remember back in grade school, Valentine’s Day meant getting candy from Mom and, like Charlie Brown, hoping to get a Valentine Card from that “cute red-haired girl” in class. Disappointments were mild in those days because I got a card from EVERY girl as well as every boy in the class.
In the dating years, Valentine’s Day brought more pressure and expectations in trying to come up with the perfect card or the perfect gift for the girl I was dating if she was near enough to see or trying to come up with just the right phrase to put in a card to communicate my feelings to that special someone who was a thousand miles away physically but near to my heart.
After marriage, the focus of Valentine’s Day shifted again and as the years went on, the excitement and expectations began to wane and the routine became swinging by to pick up candy and flowers. In recent years it has meant skipping the candy as we have become a little more calorie conscious. Yes, Valentine’s Day is still celebrated, but differently.
As my understanding of the day has changed over the years, I have come to realize that Valentine’s Day has become a day of reflection – a day to reflect on love – on love lost, love gained and love long remembered.
Valentine’s Day last year was indeed a day of reflection and it was my worst Valentine’s Day. It was also one of the most difficult days of my life. It was the day we buried my Father. As we prepared and reflected for the service, I was reminded that one of the best examples of love I have seen in my life was given to me by my Father. It was not the squoosy, heart-skip-a-beat love like one might feel on a first date, that is a feeling and feeling can be fleeting. The the kind of love that I saw in my Dad was love that is present every day in a million small ways. It is the love that works long hours to provide a roof, food and clothes to a family. It is a love that does not seek its own or draw attention to itself. It is the love that keeps a marriage going strong for more than sixty-five years. It is a love that sacrifices, puts others first, and just keeps giving. It was a love that never gave up and never stopped.
As the song from the 60’s told us
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone”
That is the type of love the world indeed needs now and the love that was modeled by my Father. A little over a year ago, when we met at the funeral home to discuss the arrangements it appeared that Wednesday would work, it was brought up that the service would be Valentine’s Day. My Mom’s response was that was OK because, “he was the love of my life.” Burying my Dad on Valentine’s Day was not easy, but it was OK because I know that along with my Mom, my Brother, my Sister and I were the loves of his life.