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Is Valen­tine’s Day over­rated or under­rated? | Pixabay

Do every­thing in love: Not just Valentine’s Day

When I first sat down to write this piece, I wanted to crush spirits, break hearts, and absolutely slaughter any and all ideas of Valentine’s Day being under­rated. 

Then I called my mom, who — much to my chagrin — told me that Valentine’s Day is her favorite holiday. How could I write a cynical article smearing my mother’s favorite day of the year?

When I asked her why, she had a great reason: “I love loving people.” Amen, Nikki. The only qualm I have with that sen­timent — and mom, please don’t take this the wrong way — is that you shouldn’t  need a special day to love people. 

Love requires con­stant pursuit in all ways. It can’t be mea­sured by that necklace he got you or that meal she cooked you on Feb. 14 — it demands much more than that.

It’s a con­stant desire to do better for your partner. It’s daily sac­rifice that brings you both closer to the lord. It’s not a massive spike in affection one day of the year.

On Feb­ruary 14th, St. Valentine was exe­cuted by order of Emperor Claudius II. During Claudius’ rule, mil­itary engagement was lacking. Young men were getting married and having fam­ilies, which nat­u­rally pulled them away from the army. In retal­i­ation, Claudius banned all mar­riages in Rome.

Valentine, a holy priest, married young couples in secret, until Claudius found out and ordered him beaten and beheaded. Valentine left a note for a friend right before he received his death sen­tence, signing it, “From your Valentine.” Thus began Valentine’s Day. 

A tragic death, but a beau­tiful life. Think of all the couples who were married, pro­fessed their love before God, and brought children into the world because of Valentine. Valentine’s life wasn’t deter­mined by the day he died — it was com­mem­o­rated by the legacy he left throughout his lifetime. 

Our loves won’t be deter­mined by any spe­cific days. If you’re truly happy in your rela­tionship, every day will be good enough to remind them of your love. You don’t know how many days you have to cherish your partner’s heart — don’t wait until a spe­cific day to do it.

So, the only reason why  I think Valentine’s Day is over­rated? We only get one of them. 

Really though, nothing sums it up quite like the wise words of my mother who has shown me what it means to love someone every day of their life: “I think every day should be Valentine’s Day, Haley-Bailey.”

Haley Strack is a sophomore studying pol­itics. She is an assistant editor of the Col­legian.

 

Don’t be anti-love: Cel­e­brate Valentine’s Day 

Of course Valentine’s Day feels over­rated. The ever-evolving, mutating, vicious creature we know as com­mer­cial­ization has taken over every part of our lives. Modern America’s over-emphasis on hollow sen­ti­men­talism, to make up for a lack of true charity, means that flowers, choco­lates, and well-written cards — ges­tures that might actually hold meaning — feel cheap and oblig­atory. Couples are indoc­tri­nated by bootleg Hallmark brands and chocolate com­panies set upon making this year “the most special one yet.” 

There is no recog­nition of per­sonhood in American Romance. Check off the boxes, take her to dinner maybe, get her a card that says “Will you be my Valentine?” and maybe she won’t be upset at you for “not caring.” Right? It’s cheap, it’s fake, it’s vapid. 

But actual Valentine’s Day, in which we cel­e­brate love (the greatest reality there is), is any­thing but vapid. Love is so integral to humankind that it should be cel­e­brated as much as pos­sible. Sen­ti­mental? Yes. True? Yes. Rhetorical Ques­tions? Also yes.

And that is why Valentine’s Day, though surely overly com­mer­cialized, kitschy, and some­times down­right stupid, has at its core some­thing quite beau­tiful, which is the cry of the human spirit to love and be loved. 

First, some context. Many forget that St. Valentine cel­e­brated for­bidden sacra­mental mar­riages, restored sight to a blind girl, con­verted her father and his household, and was a martyr. In other words, St. Valentine was based. Addi­tionally, the blind girl’s father, the judge of a Roman province, released the Christian inmates under his juris­diction after his con­version to Chris­tianity. What a won­derful analogy for the reality of love. 

Love illu­mi­nates our vision, bringing us to see people as they truly are and how we ought to see them. Love allows us to see others’ dignity and intrinsic goodness as created beings. Love con­verts our very being: when we are in love, don’t we yearn to see our beloved’s face light up when we walk in a room? Our entire dis­po­sition is changed. 

Love points us towards the Divine, the ultimate reality of love: God. Behind the youth pastor’s whisper-yell of “God really, like, totally, wants to hang out. Cuz he loves you,” is a very real, ver­tical con­nection between the creature and his Creator. Philosopher Jean Luc-Marian actually argues that we only speak of God in terms of the totality of love, the only inde­scribable thing we can begin to imagine. Not to get overly philo­sophical or the­o­logical here (probably too late), but there is sig­nif­i­cance in setting aside a day in which we con­tem­plate love. 

And how do we con­tem­plate love? By spending time with those we love, whether it be with the Creator, friend, or sig­nif­icant other. Prac­ti­cally, Valentine’s Day gives couples a spe­cific date on which they can make sure to be together. Mothers and fathers have a reason to go on a date. Valentine’s Day is the day in which we cel­e­brate love, which con­nects all reality. 

Prac­tical parts of Valentine’s Day are also under­rated. For the parents of people born in November, it’s a great day. For middle schoolers it’s a mem­o­rable time of social anxiety. And at Bob Jones Uni­versity, it’s the only day you’re legally allowed to walk on the same side of the street as your wife-elect.

There are his­torical, philo­sophical, and prac­tical impli­ca­tions to Valentine’s Day, all of which offer real goods for humankind. But proofs weary the truth. Love is so basic of a good that even the secular world appre­ciates it by setting aside a day. Don’t be anti-love. Appre­ciate the real, under­rated, Valentine’s Day.

Aidan Cyrus is a junior studying phi­losophy.