After 2020, Celebration of the One You Love Goes Deeper
What’s the Deal With Valentine’s Day, Anyway?
Let’s be honest. Valentine’s Day as we know it is a creation for the most part by greeting card, candy, and flower vendors. It actually has a long and interesting history. It was originally a Roman holiday, dedicated to the coming of Spring and celebrating fertility. Young women and men were paired up around the holiday.
In the 5th Century, the pope followed what had become a frequent Christian policy of appropriating pagan holidays. He rechristened the Roman holiday as St Valentine’s Day. By the 14th century, it had evolved back pretty much to its original focus on young love and match making.
So, this thing has some history. That it is dominated now by commercial interests notwithstanding, it has some basis to honor going forward. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a special someone in their lives. If you do, count yourself lucky (I sure do). And that thought brings us to this Valentine’s Day.
About That Special Someone
Some of us never find a special someone. Tough, but life goes on, and some come to feel just fine without such a pairing. Others find the partnering is not what was hoped for and both decide better to call it quits. That happens to about 50% of marriages in the US. That is a really high percentage.
Surely this demonstrates that getting the right pairing is not an easy thing. But most of us yearn for a life partner. And so most of those who divorce try it again, sometimes several times. The urge to have a life partner is strong.
After some years together, if all is as desired, you are each a complete personality. But you are also something of a combined lifeform. You bring out the best in each other and cover each other in your weaknesses. You have, as it turns out, also found your best friend. It does not get more special than that.
Nothing Lasts Forever
Some of us have someone, but loose them when they die before we do. This is a sundering of life beyond imagination, I would think, until you experience it personally. It is an indescribable loss. This might be a good year to reflect on that.
We all understand at some level, that if we grow old together, one of us may leave this mortal coil first. A terrible thing to contemplate, but something one can at least try to prepare for over time.
Those of us in dangerous professions, like the military or first responders, know that we could lose a partner at any moment, with no warning. People within that culture do their best to prepare for such eventuality and they have a community of those with the same risk to gather round and help as best they can when the worst news arrives.
A COVID Valentine’s Day
But hundreds of thousands of Americans over the last year have seen their partners and loved ones taken from them in a way and a time frame they could never have imagined. COVID has taken young and old, strong and weak, otherwise healthy or at risk. Some with long struggles, some in almost an instant. It’s not over yet, by any means. Many more will be lost. Many more will grieve.
As individuals, within communities, as human beings, the pandemic has reminded us, often in the most personal ways, how fragile life can be. It has reminded us of the power of being partners in life with someone we love. It has reminded what, in the end, is important. We might want to take that increased awareness, that reminder as a gift.
What to Do?
Why in the world, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, am I reminding us of this terrible thing stalking the land? I do so because Valentine’s Day is a fine excuse to take a moment to reflect on your incredibly good fortune if you have a partner. It is time to thank them and to be grateful for them.
It is time to take stock and ensure the mundaneness of everyday life has not masked how fortunate you are. Do not take it for granted that this state you enjoy today goes on forever. We do not know how many cards from the deck of life we are dealt. Suffering a loss like this, whenever it comes, is bad enough. Don’t let it be worse in realizing then you did not appreciate what you had.
If you have already lost someone like this, there is nothing I could say here to ease that loss. But perhaps you could take some time around Valentine’s Day to savor the memories, and to recognize what you had, for however long you had it, was an extraordinary gift. A gift that many never receive. Be grateful that you did, even if not for long enough.
Happy Valentine’s Day
I shall, as always on this day, present the Love of My Life a small assortment of truly terrible but funny and/or sappy cards and a note that expresses my gratitude for our life together. My amazement that we have been so fortunate. Or at least, that I have been. I will let her speak for herself! We shall enjoy some special goodies, accompanied by suitable adult beverages.
I know that we will also wish the best we can for those who lost that special relationship this past year. We will celebrate those who still have it. We will rejoice for those who will find it in the future.
Hope you have a similar day, one full of celebration or warm remembrance. I originally thought about publishing this article closer to Valentine’s Day, but I thought better of it. I wanted to give you some time to think about it. If you are lucky enough to have that partner but had not thought about celebrating on February 14, think again. Celebrate your incredible luck.
Meg & Bill Clontz
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