A Valentine's Day Musing
that day. The day when single people who think about such things, or
even some people who pretend we don't, grumble and gripe and pretend to
be cynical about love, and those of us in relationships that aren't
perfect do the same. I wonder if there are more fights between couples
than normal on this day, as we take turns disappointing one another by
not giving gifts or the right gifts, but not taking our lover to the
right restaurants, by not proclaiming our love enough or in the right
ways. Boy, what a ridiculous day! And most of us understand that
Valentine's Day is merely an economic tool designed to make money for
card companies, candy makers, and flower sellers, but even when we
pretend not to care, many of us do. In my neighborhood, every street
corner has sprung up with makeshift booths offering gigantic plush teddy
bears in pink, white, and red, bouquets of carnations and roses shipped
from Mexico, and piles of pink, white and red heart tchotchkes. I
suppose the booths are there for the men who forgot to buy their lady
something for the day and are now terrified of her wrath should they
come home empty-handed.
But, as we all know, a day is
what we make of it. I've always loved the heart symbol. I collect them. I
have a bag full of heart-shaped rocks that I've found. I even have a
string of mardi gras beads that are heart-shaped that I found in New
Orleans a couple of years ago. Today is the day of the heart symbol.
It's everywhere. Yes, it may be a day where we feel pressured to buy things to prove to our loved ones how we feel about them, but it's a day - regardless
of why it came to be or who benefits financially - where we celebrate
Love, as we also all know, is wider than the love
between a couple of people who have sex together. We also feel love for
our families, friends, pets, plants, the planet. Love is everywhere.
It's in the art we see around us, the music we listen to, and the books
we read. No act of creativity comes without love. No act of kindness
does, either. So today, can those of us who can see beyond the media and
retail hype of this day use the ubiquitous heart symbols to remember to
appreciate and generate love of all kinds? Try a smile at a stranger.
Try forgiving someone something, just for today. You can pick a fight
with them tomorrow. Try letting go of bitterness about yet another "how I
met the love of my life" commercial on TV. Try laughter. Try calling
someone you've been meaning to call for ages, and just asking them how
they are (and meaning it.) Create something and dedicate it to love.
Just find ways to generate love today. And possibly, that love will last
until tomorrow, and the next day, and to the ends of time. But start