It’s widely held that Valentine’s Day honors a priest named Saint Valentine of Terni, who lived in third-century Rome. In one of the research articles I read, Valentine was killed for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry while in service. Another story relates that the imprisoned Saint Valentine sent a letter to a young woman he had affection for, signed “from your Valentine.” In either narrative, the lore surrounding this day has to do with romance and love.
Being completely transparent (as I always am in my writing), I’m not a big fan of 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 can be bragged about around the proverbial water cooler (which really doesn’t exist anymore as a result of the coronavirus), with language like, “this is what my wonderful spouse/partner/significant other gave me.”
Don’t misunderstand; I love celebrations, but when something is given because of obligation—”I have to get he, she, they or ou something” the offering doesn’t have the same value as when it’s given from genuine caring. When my grandson, Ethan, was young and brought me a card he made or a handful of flowers he picked from the garden— sincere tokens of love—I felt truly honored. I’d always rather receive one genuinely given daisy than anything someone thought they had to give me.
Thinking about Valentine’s Day led me to reflect on hearts (not the ruffled, in your face, ones on boxes of chocolates), our hearts—the ones susceptible to being closed off by pain or shut down to protect us from being hurt again. When our spirits get crushed or even painfully bruised, it’s easy to slip into a place where we don invisible shields instead of risking heartbreaking sorrow again.
I’m not suggesting that we allow people who have “broken” us to do it repeatedly—it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves from harm—but we lose out on so much of life’s joy and love by shielding or completely shutting down our hearts.
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 peace-filled 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:
Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Open yourself to the possibility that someone who knows you wants to walk with you as you heal your wounds
Respond differently to something you’ve always heard only from a place of pain
Take a risk by opening your heart to another human
And take a chance, and let a little light in again?
AORTA—the artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
AORTA—the inviting and then allowing your heart to heal and move forward because you are worth that.
Then, as your evolution continues, you may just help unfreeze another’s heart when you speak words of affirmation.
Relationships of substance are great teachers. They instill in you the ability to discern what you need to cling to and what you can “set aside.” They offer practical lessons on what it’s like to be “real” with someone who wants to genuinely (not only on the surface) know you.
Those connections, built on compassion, trust, and honesty, allow you to see God in another human. And how wonderful is that?
Happy Valentine’s Day.