Wednesday, February 13, 2013

V-Day = Doomsday?

'Santa' gave me pepper spray for Christmas.
While I initially thought it was because I was moving from the middle-of-nowhere to a big city and 'he' wanted me to be able to protect myself, I think it was actually aimed toward taking out any guy who has ever hurt me...and doing it on Valentine's Day.

Why, you ask?
Because it looks like this:
But, really... as much as I'm kidding (just about the purpose for the spray, of course...I absolutely own this now), I'm always surprised by the vehement anger that seems to surround this holiday. People hate it. They deck out in black, or make bold anti-love statements, or cheesy 'we should love all the time and not just once a year' declarations. Sometimes they hold ex-bashing parties, or flaunt their 'S-A-D' statuses (you know, Single Awareness Day...).

And as much as some people hate it, some people love it. It's actually quite fascinating. My own thoughts on the holiday obviously change, depending on my relationship status. For example, when my roommate asked me if I wanted to do dinner and Grey's Anatomy tomorrow night, I said, 'Sure!' wondering why it was such a 'formal' invite to a casual/normal evening at our house. It then dawned on me that tomorrow was actually Valentine's Day. Ohhhhh..... now I have plans. I see what she did there.  In my singleness, I'd completely forgotten that the day was approaching, which is a very different tune than ones I've sung the past few years.

Because when you're dating someone (or 'talking' to someone, or married to someone, or engaged to someone...or, whatever other terms you kids use these days), all of that changes. Suddenly there's expectation. Suddenly, no matter how much we claimed to hate Valentine's Day and other ridiculous romantic gestures, there's a small part of us that wants to be treated just a little better on this day...we want to feel a little more special... and little more loved. And, when we're in a relationship we sort of expect it to happen. (And, when we're not... we sort of still hope that some dream guy will appear out of nowhere and catch us off guard and sweep us off our feet. Crazier things have happened, right?)

After a few years of not being single on Valentine's Day, I'm honestly a bit relieved to be single again. There's no expectation this year. There's no room for someone to mess up, for someone to disappoint, for someone to try to achieve the impossible of doing something right. We get these ideas in our head of our version of the perfect Valentine's Day extravaganza and we expect our significant other to read our mind. If he takes me here, if he gives me this, if he says this, if he does this, if he surprises me in this way...then it will be perfect!

What if he doesn't, though?
Are you content? Are you happy? Are you thankful?
What if he does the exact opposite of what you were hoping he might do? What if things don't play out in reality the way that you had played them out in your mind (even if he does everything 'right'...)?

I said this last year, and I'll say it again: for all of the women in relationships--I hope you'll let your men do whatever they want to for you on Valentine's Day. I hope that you don't impose your own hopes/ideals upon him and strip him of his own creativity and individuality. I hope that you'll let him show you that he cares about you in the way that he wants to show you that he cares about you. And I hope that will be enough for you. I hope that you'll recognize the time, the effort, the thought, the energy he put into trying to make you feel special. I hope that if he didn't do anything crazy unusual, that you would be satisfied in knowing that it probably isn't a reflection of how he actually feels about you (after all....Valentine's Day is just another day, in the grand scheme of life....).

Single ladies: I hope you'll just let this day be another day as well. That you'll let it pass without much angst or depression or excuses to wallow in your singleness (or maliciously attack all your ex-boyfriends). Enjoy the fact that you don't have to worry about this holiday right now, enjoy the fact that you can hang out with friends and not have ridiculously impossible expectations for someone to meet that will inevitably leave you disappointed (I may just be talking to myself here...). Just enjoy life. Enjoy being single right now, for this season of your life. Don't get caught up in worrying or being sad or being jealous of all your friends who are in relationships.

Bottom line?
There's a heck of a lot more to life than Valentine's Day and everything going 'just right'. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of either loving or hating this day, or being in a relationship or not...I hope we do not lose track of the thing that matters most in life. I hope we would not be so consumed with ourselves and the things we think we deserve that we forget what we actually deserve and what we have been saved from through Jesus.

Because, in the grand scheme of life... Valentine's Day is just another day.
A day to live with no regret. A day to live as a servant, a follower, a teacher, a comforter, a counselor, a friend, a giver...a day to live life to the fullest, seizing every opportunity to place others above yourself.

Don't get so caught up in the grips of a consumeristic love that you forget what it means to truly love. Don't get so caught up in demanding that others love you that you forget to love others first.

Go forth.
Enjoy Valentine's Day... as any other day. Let go of the expectations, let go of the self-pity... and live a life that exudes the Gospel, as a servant of Jesus Christ and not yourself.

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