Let's be honest, Valentine's day is not about love. For most of us, Valentine's Day is either an excuse to satirically rant about the pathetic realities of our non-existent love life or melodramatically post on every social media platform about our relationship which seems to be the best example of love we've ever found. For the latter of us Americans we give out 233 million roses and will spend about $1.6 billion today for the "love of our life," or maybe just some person we've been stalking for awhile. Regardless, there are very few true examples of love we can find that relate directly back to February 14th. Maybe, just maybe, that's because this entire holiday started with the death of Priest Valentine himself.
In the 3rd century, a priest by the name of Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death for secretly marrying couples in Rome under Claudius II's law that no young men would be allowed to marry. The law was in place so that young men would become better soldiers, however, despite the known consequences, Valentine stayed true to his values for the sake of upholding the value of love in Rome. While in prison he fell in love with the jailer's daughter, passing her a note signed "From your Valentine" on the same day he was hung, February 14th. Thus, the holiday and the cliche traditions that accompany it were born.
I've done some research and since then I've found this holiday has been linked more closely to capitalism than it has been love. However, it's important to remember the definition of love provided by the history of the holiday.Valentine (the man) and his actions defined love as a value above all values. He demonstrated love through sacrifice, selflessness and service, not through chalk tasting heart candies and overpriced floral arrangements. Grandma Dorothy does the same.
My Grandma has been legally blind for as long as I can remember, but that has never stopped her from teaching me the true definition of love through her actions.In the words of Bob Goff, "Love Does." Grandma has proven that true time and time again, but one example taught me better than the rest. My brother is a pitcher at Oregon State University and it had been his dream to play at OSU since he was five years old. Well aware that she wouldn't be able to see more than a few feet in front of her, Grandma decided she would go to every single game of Ben's college career simply to support him. She sits in the stands at every game with HUGE FM radio receptors on her head listening to the game while it's being played right in front of her. She's in her mid 80's and when the opportunity arose Ben's team to play in Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series, Grandma jumped at the opportunity to sit in a car for 35 hours just to 'hear' Ben play. There is no other value than love that could have prompted these actions.
Valentine and Grandma both know what love is all about. They know love is earned at the rate that it is given. They know love is not defined by the amount of likes you receive on Instagram, but by how often you are giving to others. That love isn't measured by the value placed on your possessions, but by the way you value other people. They recognize that love isn't an idea or a thought or a premise, but an action that moves hearts and changes lives. They fully understand that love is a sacrifice of everything that you areso that those you love can become the best they can be.
Valentine's Day is not about love... But today, February 14th, is just one more day we get to love people just like Dorothy and Valentine did.