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Entries in healing pain (1)

Friday
Feb142014

Healing Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day; do you feel the Love? Today is a day for experiencing...
Pain? Resentment? Unworthiness?

Wow~ I saw some painful posts on Facebook yesterday as folks were snowed in and had time to ruminate on this holiday of Love.  

I get it. I used to dread this holiday. It began in my childhood, when classroom Valentine's parties served as annual popularity polls. I have been trying to remember whether one teacher truly did teach us a lesson on averages by asking each child to report how many Valentines he or she received, or if it simply felt so publicly humiliating that my memory has embellished itself. Unlike today's classrooms where kids are asked to bring Valentines for each classmate, in my day we were free to choose those peers to whom we would bestow our heart-shaped blessings, and, by default, those whom we would reject. I was shy, pigeon toed, and far from poised. I used to pull down the class average, squirming in shame at my small stack as the kids on either side of me counted out their validations, "Valentine, I'm stuck on you!" "Friends Forever," and the quintissential David Cassidy saying, "I think I Love you, Valentine!" 

In high school, I had yet to hit my stride and exude a molecule of self-confidence. Each year some group would hold a fund-raiser in which students bought roses to send to classmates-- close friends, boyfriends, or girlfriends. I used to cringe walking through those corridors sans roses, while other girls had overflowing bouquets in their arms. Through those teen, and later young adult years, I rarely had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day. I felt slapped by the expectation to be coupled up by this annual occasion, and through each one that I faced solo I was keenly aware that I had "no one to Love." Even when I was dating, the childhood scars raced to the surface, and I refused to buy into the cultural hype of this "holiday." It wasn't a holiday to me; I was angry with this day, the one that had caused me so much suffering.

And then along came Jim Law. He was a sweet boyfriend, and wanted to celebrate Valentine's Day with me. Another girl might have appreciated that, but I had my armor on and sneered at the offensiveness of this "artificial holiday." It's funny; yesterday on Facebook I read statements that echoed statements I've made in those days, such as, "It's an artificial holiday created by a card company to make money," and "it's just an excuse to charge triple the price of roses-- don't get me roses on Valentine's Day!" I hurled these arguments at Jim, along with venting about the childhood popularity contests, the ones I had always lost. 

I can remember Jim's sparkling smile as he held my hand and crooned, "Valentine's Day is supposed to be Happyyyyyyyyyy! It's about saying I Love you!"

Jim had grown up in a family that embraced Valentine's Day. Every February 14, from birth until our first married Valentine's Day, he would wake in the morning to read a new Lovepoem that his mother had written just for him. So, by the way, would his six sisters and brothers. Each of those kids headed off to school buoyed on a puffy little heart of Love. No wonder he Loved the day.

Once we were married, Jim fully expected that he would awaken on Valentine's Day morning greeted by a poem written by yours truly. His expectation did not diminish when I explained that I am not his mother; in fact, he stated that he certainly hoped I would continue this tradition not only for himself, but for all of our future children as well! So, after I disappointed him that first February 14 of our married life, I resentfully sat down write him a poem. Once I got into the spirit of the task, I rather enjoyed myself! I penned a happy little verse and transferred it to a heart-shaped slip of paper. For some reason, he never asked me for another. Here is that poem:

Oh there's a boy named Jim
He makes my blood cells swim!

If you'd see him on the street
You'd say, "Gosh! That Jimbo's really neat!"

All the girls would Love him
If they only only could,

Cause Jim's the sort that's coveted
By the likes of Hollywood!

But Jimbo's mine and mine alone
So keep your hands off, girly girls.

If I ever catch you in my home,
I'll shoot you in your dirty rears!

You may detect by the somewhat caustic quality of this verse that I had yet to heal from my childhood scars! But Jim did slowly turn me around. Every year, he shopped for special gifts to give not only to me, but to each of our kids on Valentine's morning. If their mother would not rise to the poetry occasion, he was going to make sure that someone was making them feel Loved! As I've softened to this practice over the years, I've come to deLight in sharing in the hunt with him for something small but special for each child. My kids look forward to hopping out of bed on Valentine's morning to see what their parents have done to greet them with an extra dollop of Love. Sometimes I have even stayed up late the night before, crafting something special for each one.

Seeing Valentine's Day as a day to joyfully express to those I Love that I truly Love them, that I am grateful for them in my life, has changed everything that I feel on this beautiful, celebratory day. Where I once took the day as an annual demonstration of my failure to acquire Love, I now see that it is an annual opportunity to put a happy exclamation point on my expressions of Love. Instead of longing for validation from others around me, I have shifted my focus to celebrate the Love that is in my life, and to share my Love with those dearest to me. Doing so is a gift that I give myself, my own little "I Love you." This shift has transformed a once painful day to one of great happiness. 

I have often heard the case against Valentine's Day, that we should express Love every day rather than reserve it for a single day each year. Absolutely! But how deLightful to have a day to pause, acknowledge Love, and celebrate it in our lives. I remember once reading a channeled message by Linda Dillon*, in which we are told that the Angels thrill on this day because it is the only one in our Calendars which is dedicated to Love. How wise our Angelic friends are. The gift of this day is invaluable. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! May you bask in the blessings of all those you Love, and may you enjoy your myriad opportunities to express the Love that you feel for yourself, for others, and for all that you hold dear. 

*Linda Dillon: www.counciloflove.org