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.