It is interesting to watch the marketing culture change from season to season. Last year the Valentine’s Day push came right after Christmas. However, last year, and to my unpleasant surprise, I found rows of Valentine’s gifts and decorations lining the shelves two weeks prior to Christmas.
This premature marketing ignited a plethora of thoughts and emotions. The first being, “You have got to be kidding, Christmas has not even passed, and I am already being bombarded with rows of red hearts, roses and chocolates.” Romance and love, the stirring of hope to feel special, to be loved and share love, the chance to welcome a mysterious or expensive surprise, and even the pressure to spend more money were just a few of the emotive thoughts which caught my attention.
Later, I took some time to ponder how of my single friends might feel as this ‘holiday for lovers’ approaches. Hope for a soul-mate, grief over a lost one, loneliness or feelings of disappointment and rejection were just a few of the initial sentiments which provoked further ruminations.
What kind of emotional pressure does a day like this create? The answers are as diverse as the people who celebrate the day (or don’t.) I guess most people can fill in the blank in one or two phrases.
As for me, I thought about the healing community we are called to steward. What kind of culture should we create or what type of philosophy should we imbibe for a day like this?
While those who are married may choose to take the occasion to indulge and fuel love, how should singles or the unattached own the day? It is true that the tenderness, longing and awareness of desires unfulfilled are highlighted as the day closes in.
I feel the ‘soul of the single’ must choose to celebrate this day differently; perhaps breaking the norms of culture and its expectations. This may not eliminate all the pain, but the exquisite risk of mysteriously marking the day will soften the impact for some. And for others the sweet and bold expressions of love and faith will ignite laughter, fresh hope and courage. It is creative, celebratory action that will transform the inevitable cry of pain to a song of joy.
For all, young and old, married and unmarried, it can be a time to create fresh opportunities to express love, honour, commitment and thankfulness. And if this is a day of love, then feel free to celebrate those you care about. You don’t need a spouse, lover, or soul mate. Be free to step out of patterns that replay the secular norms. Be free, feel free! It is the fine art of living and loving well.
If we choose to do so, our vivid signature of ‘love expressed’ will yield lifetime memories. I say, “A new threshold is waiting to be crossed.” As we cross it, we will move from feelings of isolation to feelings of belonging and significance.
As a community, a spiritual family, where different generations and relationships connect and intersect, let’s fashion and form a culture that nourishes one another on this day. Let the joy of spontaneity and intentionality be experienced though an environment of freedom, imagination and inspiration.
In closing, Bill and I recently heard the back-story behind the writing and producing of an all-time favorite love song, ‘You Are So Beautiful,’ written by Billy Preston. So with a new appreciation for this ‘love song’ we say and sing to our friends, “YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!”