If you enjoyed my post on Halloween, you’ll like this one! For Part 1, see here: What Does Valentine’s Day Really Mean – Part 1. It’s time for another story. Welcome to the #tywlife.
[Note: This post is part of a 2-part series. For part 1, click the link above.]
In high school, my girl friends and I started writing each other “notes” regularly, and that’s when the pen pal tradition started. Every time we passed notes, they would be folded up neatly. (It was really a test of our origami skills). It was great, albeit probably very time consuming. (Time as a commodity already?!) Those days were all about written letters (none of this email, 140-character Twitter stuff, or wall posts and text messages… Call me old.) I used to love my “note-writing” breaks from homework. I think at some point I used it as a practice for writing in-class essays. I would time myself or give myself a cap for how long I was given to write the notes. It helped when exams came around… 3 essays in how many hours?!
So today is Valentine’s Day and according to Wikipedia, the day for couples to express their love for one another… an association with “romantic love.” In today’s world, it seems like our perception and understanding of what “love” is has been changed by society. Mainstream media, film, etc., has diluted its definition and meaning, and we’re ok with it. Are we really? Or is it just easier to accept what’s presented to us? Give in?
How would you define “romantic love?” This isn’t just “love” – the word we seem to throw around mindlessly (when our social circles deem it ok) – but romantic love. The gestures, the thought, the commitment, or however you, yourself, define the feelings you have for one other person. Now based on that definition, is it something we should be celebrating just one day of the year?
I wrote an article on Marketing vs Consumerism a while back, discussing society’s expectations for markets to remind us of these holidays. With social media, nowadays, we’re reminded of everything that’s going on – left, right, and centre. In fact, ask yourself: what is the norm? Has your perception of what is “right” been influenced over the years? Is it based on what society or your friends tell you is acceptable? Is it everything your Facebook newsfeed tells you? (As if your social circle makes up your life and who you are – partially, but it is up to you to make that decision. How do you define yourself and what influences your decisions? Have you come to rely on these mediums/channels? I won’t dive into an introspection exercise.)
Sometimes, when we’re bombarded with messages coming from various sources, we enter into a state of overconsumption – yes, even of data – of ideas, points-of-view, opinions, etc.! It is important to remember: 1) who you are and 2) the importance of respecting the ideas of each person. Your personal values and priorities, which are (more often than not) deeply rooted in both your heart and mind, will affect the decisions you make (all of them); therefore, it is important to be self-aware. Do not worry if you are unclear of what these are right now. It sometimes takes a little bit of reflecting.
Last week’s sermon was about the roles of the husband, wife, and children in the family. It gave me some great insight about what it means to be in a family. I’ve realized that love is not something we can just learn and learn from one place. Like life, it is continuous and complex. Each day, we are filling the gaps and deepening our understanding. It is not only between two people, but among many people. What two people do have is a relationship – romantic or not.
I’ll end with these thoughts. People who have broken hearts and have had broken hearts (however you choose to define that ) may claim to know what love is… a little more. Maybe. Maybe not. Love is a complicated thing. Its definition can be found from multiple sources. Sometimes experience opens our eyes to new understandings and sometimes we just have to seek it out. When you have it found it, it will be amazing and you will celebrate it daily. As for romantic love, I’ll leave that up to you to discover ❤ What I do know for certain is that romantic love is reserved for two individuals.
So tonight, as it is Valentine’s Day… maybe do something special, but also remember that at the root of romantic love is “love” and that should be celebrated every day. I leave that open for interpretation and the rest in your hands!
Post Script: As a follow up to yesterday’s love letter story, I thought I’d share part of his closing that I was particularly drawn to. It read something like this: “You can pretend you never read this and that everything is just as it was before.” I loved that he presented that option and even though I took it, I thought it was a sweet way to close and considerate of him. Who doesn’t like having choices? Remember, the choice is yours.