Celebrating Valentine’s Day during COVID may be especially meaningful


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Celebrating Valentine's Day during COVID may be especially meaningful

Celebrating Valentine’s Day during COVID may be especially meaningful

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Don’t worry if you haven’t picked up something for your dear bunny, your bestie, or your friends for Valentine’s Day. In the final hours of the sweetest holiday of the year, retailers are stocked with flowers, cards, trinkets and jewelry. They feel good — sales are expected to hit $23.9 billion, up nearly $2 billion from last year. Make this COVID-19 Valentine’s Day one of the few annual events not hit financially by the pandemic.

You all know me as the Empty Glass Woman, but I’ve always been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Probably for the same reason, I love holiday movies that are utterly condemned by the snobs among you. I really don’t care what you think – sometimes I just want/need to sink into the warmth of fantasy and everything will be ok. An annual collective indulgence of candy hearts, chocolates and Hallmark’s best sentimental greeting cards, what’s not to like.

I used to have a heated discussion about Valentine’s Day. Most people don’t usually talk about light subjects at this particular co-ed gathering, so I was surprised when the conversation got heated. Soon we were split into two groups – not by gender, by the way. Some women who lined up with men were turned off by what they saw as an absurd nod to vulgar commercialism. Some men have joined the ranks of true romantics, seeing the holiday as a fun and often beautiful way to celebrate love. Recently, comprehensive smart home automation company Vivint asked 600 Americans how they felt about Valentine’s Day and found that 70% of men plan to celebrate with their significant other, compared to 48% of women. I fondly remember Valentine’s Day when an ex-boyfriend gave me 11 long-stemmed red roses because his note read, “I’m the 12th.” Works for me!

But I’ve come to believe that Valentine’s Day has not only a greater value than all hearts and flowers, but a special value in this ongoing pandemic. To date, more than 900,000 American victims have died from the virus, and few of us are not moved by grief or grief. Or its by-product: isolation. There is no better time to embrace love, a love that cares not about yourself, but about others. After all, the foundation of Valentine’s Day is not romantic love, but faith. Saint Valentine, named after him, was martyred for refusing to deny Christ. I am reminded of Lucille Clifton’s poem “Lessons of the Fallen Leaves,” where she describes love as faith, faith as grace, and grace as God. Nothing beats a balm that love comes in any form.

I’m navigating these gray days of the ongoing pandemic through an intentional strategy of finding examples of compassion and kindness. There is a story about John Thomas Archer, a 23-year-old architecture student at the time, who asked for permission to play the piano at the Remarkable Cleanouts antique store in Norwood to make everyone in the store feel good. The shop owner was inspired and gave him a piano. I’m drinking a collection of stories called “My Unsung Hero,” collected by the podcast Hidden Brain. These stories are about the transformation of good intentions, mostly strangers. And I don’t know how much I love Tik Tok, funny videos on YouTube, viral videos, and those videos my friends send me that make me laugh. The renowned Mayo Clinic has confirmed a study that shows laughter can greatly reduce stress.

Writer Henry Miller said it best, “The only thing we don’t get is love; the only thing we give is always love.” I’d love any flowers and candy that comes on Valentine’s Day 2022, but I’m also Use this day to celebrate random acts of kindness, restore some lapsed relationships, and let the people I care about know that I care about them. If that’s not the antidote to this pandemic time, I don’t know what is.

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