February is a funny month.
February is a funny month. It’s the month of valentine cards and chocolate covered strawberries, everything is pink and the Pillsbury heart cookies are amazing and probably, most importantly, it’s all about love! I remember being in elementary school and writing my valentine’s out the evening before the big day. I would tape a heart-shaped lollipop onto each hand-written note with all the different shades of pink gel pens I’d gotten for Christmas spread across the kitchen table.
It’s funny how simple, innocent holidays can so quickly take a turn. I remember one year I began to wonder if I had to write a valentine for EVERYONE in the class….couldn’t I just skip ___ and ___ because she once threw up in the middle of reading time and he picked his nose?
Fast forward a few years...I was older now and Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday. I was dating a boy who may or may not have thought we were dating (it’s all ambiguous when you’re in high school and trying to be cool). We were going to the classic Nicholas Sparks type movie that comes out every year on Valentine’s Day and after getting our popcorn and drinks we walked into the theatre. We bumped into some people from my school and I was kind of embarrassed to be with someone. Did I introduce him as a boyfriend, or a friend, or an acquaintance? In hindsight, I probably could have just introduced him by his name but in high school I thought the title was quite significant.
Running into these girls actually bothered me more than I let on. I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school. I had just gotten out of a long term (and long distance) relationship that had devastated me and because of that when I first moved I didn’t put a lot of effort into getting to know people. I knew a few people I could sit with at lunch but I was an introvert and so I usually brought my lunch to the library and read a novel until the break was over.
I sometimes wonder if that is a common feeling. I found it so easy to find boys to hang out with, bond with, and date when I was in high school (yes, I was young and naive) but what I longed for were real and true friends, a group of fun girlfriends to have sleepovers with and confide in and share life with.
Don’t you (always) wish you had had these realizations in the moment. I so wish I had stopped dating a new guy every few months and instead spent more time trying to make some quality friends. Why is it so hard? For some reason finding these best friends seemed like such a pike dream (making friends can feel so difficult sometimes). So, instead I kept going after the company that was easier to keep; the boy who would take a girl who may or may not have been his girlfriend to a Nicholas Sparks’ movie on Valentine’s Day in exchange for whatever high school boys want, if you catch my drift.
So, the month of love carries mixed feelings for me now. I love love. Love is patient and kind. It does not boast, it keeps no records of wrong. It rejoices in the truth. 1 Corinthians 13.
One thing that I’ve always been taught, but have to remind myself frequently so that it sinks in is that we don’t have to try to win over God’s affection like we try to win over a friend or a boy. In a time where feelings of love can lead to confusion and disillusionment and hurt God shows us the ultimate example of true love. We don’t have to do anything for it but ask, and isn’t that just the best?
I learned about love when I was very young. My parents demonstrated love beautifully and they also never left a special holiday ungifted. I remember little Valentine’s Day treats from my mom and hand drawn cards from my dad. It feels so good to feel love. I learned that love can be confusing when I started wondering if Valentine’s were really necessary for everybody. And, I learned that the feeling of love can be abused, turn into heartbreak, or turn out to not be real love at all. But most importantly, I learned that true love, whether it’s from a friend or a boy or a parent, is one of the sweetest feelings you can experience.
This year, Valentine’s Day lands on a Thursday which just so happens to be the night Daniel (my husband) and I host a community group with some people from our church. I was asked by a couple who attends if we still planned to host a community group on Valentine’s Day or if we planned to have a date night! Instantly I got so excited, while I love going on dates, I suddenly realized that our community group with a few singles, some newlyweds, and some couples who have been married 20+ years is such a cool place to spend Valentine’s Day. We can share our love stories, the stories of enduring love in hard times, and the simple tidbits of wisdom, advice, and date night ideas that every relationship requires.
On a completely different note, even before I had a chance to plan a date with my hubby for Valentine’s Day this year I was invited to two Galentine’s nights in February. To celebrate love with girlfriends, eat our favourite heart-shaped cookies and enjoy each others company whether we’re single, dating, or married. Isn’t that fun. P.s. - I’m still pumped to go on a date with my hubby, but who says it needs to be on Valentine’s Day, instead we’ll just make it Valentine’s month and go another day. :)
I said earlier that February is a funny month, mainly because Valentine’s Day is a funny holiday. I love the idea of celebrating love on a particular day and I love handwritten notes, but what a funny concept that we should show more love on one day of the year, that we should go on an extra date, buy extra flowers, and watch extra rom-coms with our friends. My personal opinion is that we should all eat heart cookies, watch Love Actually (so many adorable love stories, beware of nudity), and show our love for our friends and family and partners much more than we do not just on Valentine’s day but on every single day that we feel love and appreciate the impact it’s made in our lives.