It’s widely held that Valentine’s Day honors a third-century, Roman priest named (you guessed it) Valentine. According to one account, he performed secret weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Another narrative asserts that an imprisoned Saint Valentine sent a letter to the woman he loved, signed “from your Valentine.” Either way, the lore surrounding this day has to do with romance and love.
In the interest of transparency, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s become a “holiday” where people (often men) are made to feel like they have to buy their significant other something awesome that can be bragged about around the proverbial water cooler, with verbiage like: “Look at what my amazing husband (boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, partner) got me!”
When a gift is presented because it has to be, is it really a gift? If not given from the heart, what’s the “value” outside of the monetary amount?
Thinking about Valentine’s Day, led me to think about hearts—not the plastic versions stuck in bouquets of overpriced flowers or the ruffled ones on oversized boxes of chocolates—but our hearts—the ones that sometimes become closed off by pain.
When that happens, our spirits can get crushed (or at least badly bruised). We shut down to protect ourselves and, if we’re not careful, we could eventually land in a place where we’d rather put invisible shields around ourselves than risk the pain of heartbreak one more time. The problem is: by shielding our hearts, we lose out on living fully.
If you’re wrapped in sadness, loneliness, and heartbreak, it’s next to impossible to have a peace-full home. Broken hearts lead to broken homes, which lead to homes without peace.
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. But, if you’re in a heart-broken place, would you:
• open yourself to the possibility that your pain can be healed?
• take a chance and allow yourself to again believe in possibilities?
• be willing to let a little light in again?
• take a risk and open up to someone you believe you can trust (not a person you hang out with but never have a meaningful conversation with)?
Say something heartfelt to someone you love. You may just help unfreeze that person’s heart. Relationships of substance are wonderful teachers. They instill in you the ability to discern what you need to cling to—what’s most important to you— and what you can “set aside” (very different from doing the “shut up and deal dance”). They are practical lessons on what it’s like to be real with someone who wants to really know you. Relationships built on love, trust, and honesty allow you to see God in another human. How wonderful is that?
I love this beautiful Native American saying: “Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture your heart.” Pursue what captures your heart. You deserve it.