It’s widely held that St. Valentine’s Day honors a priest named (you guessed it) Valentine who lived in Rome in the third century. According to one account, he was killed for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry. Another story relates that the imprisoned Saint Valentine sent a letter to a young woman he fell in love with, signed “from your Valentine.” In either narrative, the lore surrounded this day has to do with romance and love.
In the interest of complete transparency, I’m not a big fan of the 21st century Valentine’s Day. It’s become a “holiday” where people often feel like they have to buy their significant other something special that could be bragged about around the proverbial water cooler, with language like, “this is what my wonderful spouse/partner gave me.” I love celebrations, but when something isn’t given from the heart, the offering doesn’t have the same “value.” When my six-year-old grandson, Ethan, brings me a card he’s made, or a handful of flowers he picked from the garden— sincere tokens of how he feels—I feel loved. I’d much rather receive one genuinely given daisy than anything someone thought they had to give me.
Thinking about Valentine’s Day, led me to think about hearts—not the ruffled, in your face, ones that are on boxes of chocolates—but our hearts that can become closed off by pain, shutting down to protect ourselves from being hurt again, and our spirits can get crushed (or at least badly bruised). Then, we get to a place where we put an invisible shield around ourselves instead of risking the pain of heartbreak again. But, by shielding our hearts, we lose out on so life’s joy and love. I’m not suggesting that we allow people who have “broken” us to do it over and over again—it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves from harm. Sadly, in many homes, hearts are not protected, and where there’s sadness, pain, loneliness, and heartbreak, it’s next to impossible to have a peaceful home.
A home full of broken hearts is a home that’s broken and without peace.
If you’re in a heart-broken place, are you willing to:
- take a chance, and let a little light in again
- open yourself to the possibility that someone who knows you wants to walk with you as you heal your wounds/
- allow yourself to be vulnerable?
- respond differently to something that you’ve always heard only from a place of pain?
- take a risk and open your heart to another human being?
Choose someone you trust who has shown love for you (different from someone you hang out with but never have a meaningful conversation with).
Then, say something heartfelt to someone you love. You may just help unfreeze another’s heart.
Relationships of substance are great teachers. They instill in us the ability to discern what we need to cling to and what we can “set aside.” They are practical lessons on what it’s like to be “real” with someone who wants to really know us. Relationships built on love, trust, and honestly allow you to see God in another human. And how wonderful is that?