I wonder if elementary school kids still decorate shoe boxes for Valentines Day.
Do you remember using construction paper, sticky white paste and paper lace dollies to create a festive mailbox for the annual delivery of little folded Valentine cards? Sometimes there was a piece of candy or a lollipop taped to a card, but the goodies were unimportant. The real measurement of popularity was the number of cards you would receive.
The deliveries were anonymous, so unless the little notes were signed, you never really knew who sent them. And there was no way to know who had not. You could only count up your cards and hope for the best.
I was not the most popular kid in grade school. Often wandering around the perimeter of the playground, I spent more time making friends with wildflowers and counting clovers than cultivating friendships. Pale, freckled and redheaded, I did not look much like the other girls either. To top off my awkwardness, I often fainted because of a heart condition that would not be discovered for many years. I thought it was normal for the school nurse to stand around with smelling salts, just in case.
So I never expected to get a lot of valentines, but I loved to make them. I saved bits of paper and ribbon in my desk all year long just so I could make something different. Sometimes I could convince my mom to buy me some stickers at the drug store instead of the manufactured cards. I would happily deliver handmade notes to all the other boxes but I was not very interested in looking in my own. Creating the cards was more fun than receiving them.
As adults, this holiday can be vexing. In a committed relationship, the pressure to produce an epic romantic gesture is splashed all over our culture. Many of my single friends feel left out and ask,”What do we do about Valentine’s Day?” My first thought was something along the line of starting a whole other holiday that would focus more on loving ourselves instead of measuring how others feel about us. But after some reflection I think we should make Valentine’s Day more about our capacity to create and share loving acts of kindness instead of counting up our cards or calculating how much we are loved.
Let’s look around and shower love on everyone we encounter this Sunday. If you like the cards, flowers, and chocolate, then send it to your best friend, your teacher, or even that barista who makes your coffee. If you feel inclined to make something you can give to others, you might find you discover a delicious joy in the process of creation.
I’m certain that the more you fall in love with life and everyone around you, the more you will see that you are the love you are looking for.
“Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.” John Lennon
remember goodness grows,