Valentines day has once again crept up on us like a creepy, middle-aged afternoon mall goer in a trench coat. That's a lot of adjectives, but I feel it needed to be described that way. For most people, especially men, it is a day of crass commercialism and trying to see what you can get away with in bed. This is what I overhear being talked about today, and every VD in the past. For many men and women, this is relationship crunch time. A nice VD will cover up a multitude of sins. The pressure is also on because, while you may not think about it again for the rest of the year, this is a day when you HAVE to show your partner you care. For some people, the exercise of thinking about another individual, someone other than themselves, is an extremely difficult task.
To me, the way VD is celebrated in this country is a joke. It's a farce. It would be hilarious, if it weren't such a damning narrative on the state of our culture. Yet, I celebrate it every year. Here's why.
Around the 3rd century emperor Claudius Gothicus (also a store manager at hot topic) had taken a liking to persecuting the new religion of Christianity with fervor. The emperor banned priests from conducting marriage ceremonies between Christian men and women. The emperor, cruel and evil though he was, realized married Christian men and women presented a dangerous threat to his reign. He recognized the power of strong Christian marriage relationships and sought to destroy them for that.
Saint Valentine, being Italian, had a big heart, full of love. In addition, being Italian, he had a complete disregard for the law. If you wanted young Valentino to do anything, all you had to do was tell him it was forbidden. "You must never clean your room Valentino!" 5 minutes later, spic and span, guaranteed. This attitude welled up in him when he heard the decree of Claudius. He proceeded to give aid and comfort to Christians wherever possible. He married many of them.
As a result of this work, he was caught and imprisoned. Valentine was not to be deterred. After converting his jailers blind daughter to Christianity, he went ahead and did the same for his prison keeper. Valentine was on a roll. Over the course of a year of prison dwelling, he eventually struck up a friendship with the emperor, Claudius. Eventually, he was offered his freedom, as long as he recanted his faith and pledged allegiance to Claudius' Roman gods. Valentine, spitting directly in the face of danger, instead attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity. Enraged, Claudius sentenced Valentine to death. He was beaten with clubs, stoned with...well, stones, and then beheaded. This is the person I remember when I celebrate Valentines Day.
Christ and his disciples died spreading the gospel and doing the Lord's work. They died facilitating a Christian way of life and love. They did not die for diamonds, chocolate, and flowers. They died for something much deeper than shallow displays of affection or lustful whimsy once a year. Valentines Day is a reminder that the person you married, your wife or your husband, deserves all the love and affection you can possibly give them every day of the year. None of us are in danger of getting beaten to death for doing this. What's our excuse?
Whatever ways you're going to show your love for your spouse this Valentines day, make it a point to not stop showing that love during the year. Instead of buying flower arrangements brought to you at the expense of violent working conditions in Colombia, Ecuador, and Kenya, write a letter. Instead of buying conflict diamonds that young children are killed for, wash the walls and mop the floor. Clean the desk off and make the bed. Instead of buying chocolate products made with child slave labor, Make a nice dinner and light a candle. Find sustainable ways to show your wife or husband you love them. Start on Valentines Day and carry it through.
Sacrifice of your wants and desires to enhance the life of your love is a noble thing. Take pride in that. Today is the 13th. Make it the last day you spend following crass commercialized holidays and get back to celebrating the true and heroic facts of the day in question.
In before, "Jesse just wants to get out of getting something for Janelle for VD." Hacks.