Several years back when Singles Awareness Day – I mean, Valentine’s Day 😜 – was approaching, one of my friends shot me a knowing look. “Are you one of those girls who hates Valentine’s Day?”
I was taken aback. How could she accuse me of such a thing? Who’d she think I was, Eeyore?!
But her question made me think. Was I anti-Valentine’s? I didn’t think so. I mean, I’d have preferred to be in a relationship, sure, but I still shopped the heart-shaped candy aisle at Target with enthusiasm. I didn’t spend the holiday sobbing on the floor, by any means. I usually wore pink.
I pondered the idea for a moment.
Thoughts I didn’t even know I had spewed out: “Actually, no! I kind of love it! I mean, yeah, someday I hope I’ll have that special someone, but I’m okay being single right now. I just see it as a day to eat as much chocolate as I want! And I don’t even have to shower if I don’t want to! Someday it’ll be different. But for now, I can definitely still enjoy it.”
I meant it. I’m not sure why she was expecting me to harbor some deep-seated bitterness against V-Day or maybe mope around the house all day, but that wasn’t how I felt. I didn’t want to be single, but I didn’t hate it.
That Valentine’s Day, I celebrated it up. I invited all my single friends over for a chocolate fest, and we laughed and danced around the kitchen with bowls of puppy chow and chocolate-covered strawberries.
I felt content. Valentine’s Day was so not bad at all!
Aaaaand then by the time the next Valentine’s Day rolled around, I’d had my first heartbreak.
I didn’t see it coming, I couldn’t believe it had happened to me when I’d been so genuinely okay with singleness, and now I just…wasn’t.
I wore green, I listened to all the I-don’t-need-a-man and you’re-a-jerk songs (literally, those), and I put on a completely stoic face until I turned out the lights that night. And then I cried.
I’d spent lonely holidays before, but this was different. This was deeper. This was loneliness after getting a taste of what it was like to be without it.
It was a totally different story from the previous year. It brings to mind the passage in Ephesians about a time to mourn and a time to dance. I did both. I danced, and the next year I mourned.
There is a time for everything,Ephesians 3:1-8
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Honestly, I was a little bitter for a while. Even after being offended that someone would accuse me of just that 365 days earlier. 😁 I took a few years off from the pink, the heart-shaped candies, and the overall sweetness, because I didn’t feel very sweet.
But, just like they say, time heals all wounds. Maybe not how we expect and maybe not without a few scars, but there is healing nonetheless.
Eventually – more and more each year – I healed. I found fresh joy. I reintroduced myself to heart-shaped Reese’s and remembered why I liked them (more like wondered how I could’ve ever abandoned them).
And then I reached a point where I realized that even if I was single and even if that never changed, there were other people I could show love to. I didn’t have to receive love from everybody to show it to everybody that I could. I didn’t have to receive love from anybody to show it to anybody that I could. My friends. (We love to celebrate Galentine’s Day!) My widowed grandma. My nanny kids. (Really, are there any better Valentines? I’d be hard-pressed to find any as cute!) Heck, even my dog.
Valentine’s Day is all about love, right? You can love others, you can love yourself, and you can even show love to others when you feel unloved yourself.
Love your neighbor as yourself.Matthew 22:39b
You are loved. And you are incredibly capable of making others feel loved, too.
This Valentine’s Day I challenge you, whether you’re married or single, to make somebody feel loved. Surprise a friend with chocolates who won’t be expecting them, send a nice text, pay for a stranger’s coffee or buy yourself one (or take advantage of a BOGO and do both!), bring cookies to a nursing home, or offer to babysit for a couple in your neighborhood so they can enjoy a fancy evening out.
Show love to the people around you. And don’t forget to show yourself some love, too. Whether you’re in a season of mourning or dancing, you can show love.
And if yours is a season of mourning, know that there will be dancing one day – again or for the first time.
You’re loved. Love yourself and others extra this week! ❤️