*I had every intention of posting this yesterday, actually on Valentine's Day, but I ran out of time to do a proper edit before I had to leave for Bible study and so it had to wait until today to be posted.*
I have to say, as someone who has been single for all but one Valentine's day in my almost twenty eight years, Valentine's day has not always been my favourite day. Some years it has passed with a hardly a notice of what day it was, some years I've spent it with other friends who were also single, some years it has been a day I dreaded as it grew closer and then I hated the entire day.
The last few years, some of my friends have planned girl's nights for February 14, that they called "ro-tic" nights (romantic, without the man). The name may be a little bit odd, but the sentiment was that if we got together, it would be a better night for all of us than if spent it at home alone. And it was a much better way to spend the evening - in the company of good friends, food, chocolate, and laughter. We have celebrated the love of our friendships with one another through spending time together on what could otherwise be a lonely night.
At Bible college, it was renamed "single's awareness day" by those who would find themselves without a date for that night. A bit of a depressing name for such a day, but when you're still single in mid-February in a place that is commonly called "bridal college" it can be a bit of a depressing day. Especially because, if everyone was to be really honest, even if finding a husband/wife is not their primary reason for being at Bible college, it's something that crossed their mind when they were considering it, and I don't know if there were many, if any, who would have been opposed to meeting their future spouse while were there. And so it became "single's awareness day" - the day when everyone who was single felt like that fact was amplified.
Valentine's Day as a child always seemed to be an exciting day. Your envelope in the classroom at school (that you had decorated beforehand) would be filled with Valentines from your classmates. You never considered the rule: if you don't give a Valentine to everyone in the class, you don't give out any Valentines. You were just excited to get them. For me, there was always a Valentine and candy or chocolate from my parents and from my grandparents. It was, overall, a pretty fun day. I wonder if maybe, this is what Valentine's Day should continue to be like.
But, somewhere along the way, as we grew up, Valentine's Day changed . . . a lot. And it became a day filled with expectations for those who have a significant other. And a day that is hated or dreaded by many singles. Is this really how it should be? Or can we recapture some of the excitement we had about it as children?
As much as I have not really liked the name some people have for a night with friends on Valentine's Day, I wonder if the sentiment is not more of what we need on this day. A time to celebrate and appreciate our friends and family and the love we have for one another. Obviously, this includes love for a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend - and I don't want to take a day to focus on that away from anyone. I just wonder if we need to expand what we think of Valentine's Day being about to include more than just that significant other, to include all those in our lives that we love, care about, and appreciate.