I’ve developed a better attitude about Valentine’s Day this year. Really. I actually ventured into the seasonal aisle of the grocery store, the one where the shelves are a retail bouquet of all things pink, red and fuzzy.
I even picked up one of the Valentine’s cards and read it. For $1.99, you got a greeting with sparkles on the cover and this verse inside: “Some candy’s red, some of it’s blue-ish, hope your day is sweet and totally you-ish.”
And there went my attitude.
Really?!? The writer’s idea of a heart-warming rhyme is to tack -ish on the end of unrelated words? Can we get a restraining order against -ishness?
The seasonal grumpiness set in again. My feelings about red flowers and hearts are pretty much the same as Sam-I-am’s feelings about green eggs and ham. I do not like them here or there. I do not like them anywhere. Especially in my grocery store where I have to walk by them every few days.
Last year, a friend tried to help me get over my Feb. 14 Grinch-ish-ness. She pointed out that the day is a light-hearted, fun occasion for a lot of people. Who knows, maybe somebody will be inspired to make the first move to start a relationship by sending a Valentine. She told how her father got Valentines for her, her mom and her brothers every year.
Very sweet. I get it.
Still, I have to bite my lip every time love gets turned into an -ish. And you have to buy something to show your –ish-ness. When you think about it, we treat love and giving on St. Valentine’s Day the same way we do at Christmas.
Cupid becomes a two-month-later version of Santa – a little smaller, but they both fly and they’re both fond of red. And St. Nicholas and St. Valentine morph into patron saints of the retail world.
Something important gets lost – the reason for the season. That’s what gets underneath my otherwise romantic skin. I could befriend Cupid a little better if we actually spent a little time talking about the meaning of it.
If we spent a little more time thinking like Joan.
She’s the main character in the program “Joan of Arcadia” that ran for two seasons on CBS. Joan is a typical high school girl, going through typical teenage crises, when she starts getting regular visits from God. The Divine One shows up in many guises – a hot young man, a crusty cafeteria worker, a homeless person. My favorite is a young girl – that’s Her in the photo above.
In one episode (I’ve attached a link), Joan is having major love-life problems. Her fairytale relationship with Adam has hit the rocks. He’s working on a project and has hired an attractive female to help him. He wants to make Joan jealous, and it works. She ends up getting kissed by another young man.
The relationship is a mess. Joan’s fairytale romance has turned Grimm. Maybe she should just abandon it and move on to someone else.
Little Girl God visits Joan in a bookstore, reading a fairytale. God mentions that we humans seem to love that “happily ever after” ending. Joan asks if God has a better idea. God suggests: “They all moved towards spiritual growth and enlightenment?”
Oh yeah, that’ll go over big. That’s not romantic.
Well, actually, it is. God points out that in fairytales, one character is near death and the other risks death to help them. It’s a death-and-resurrection metaphor.
“It happens all the time,” God says in her little voice. “The illusion dies so that something deeper can take its place.”
Love is big. It’s a bright light in the universe, God says, and it casts a big shadow. And it’s not easy. But it’s up to us to decide whether we want to risk ourselves for it.
And that’s the real story.
“Real love is hard work,” God says. “You have to decide if you want it in your story. Or if you’d rather just stay in the dream.”
I like to talk more about that. About something that challenges us in many ways every day, not once a year-ish. I wish they’d put that in a Valentine’s card. I might actually buy it.
Assuming it didn’t cost more than $1.99, of course. I have standards.
The YouTube link: