Be My Valentine?
I'm a little sensitive to all the Valentiny stuff at this time of year.
It's been a long time since I used to go roller skating and I was guaranteed candy and at least one Valentine with the pink Power Ranger on it.
It's been a long time since I stayed late working at Safeway filling hundreds of balloons with helium from a tank and placing them artfully on a giant Coca Cola display.
Maybe it's because I've always considered Valentine's Day to be the appetizer to my birthday (which is next week), somehow, once the hearts and flowers come out, I'm mostly happy, mostly celebratory. Still, I want to hold space for those who are lonely, even those in relationships or marriages. I want to hold space for those who want to forget that this day is on the calendar at all.
But most of all, I want to whisper a few things into those ears, most notably: you are loved. I will say it over and over again until my voice gives out.
I've written some stories and essays around Valentine's Day, love, dating, and singleness in the last little bit and I wanted to compile them all here for you. I hope as you read them you hear me whispering a deeply true thing: you are loved, you are loved, you are loved.
"Just like God is not a consolation prize, you are not a participation trophy. You were dreamed up before the creation of the world, when there was nothing and God had not yet spoken the light into being. You are so much more important than a day on the calendar. But more than that, you are worth being celebrated for every second of every day, and it would take eternity for you to be able to even begin to grasp the extent to which you are loved.
One day is a start."
"That would be really fun, but you wouldn’t know anyone, are you sure you’d like to go?
I could tell he was turning the idea over in his mind, wondering if it was really a good idea to bring a stranger to a wedding on a first date. I responded affirmatively and waited.
Apparently, adventure won out: Can you be ready in 30 minutes?
I threw on a dress, touched up my makeup, and walked out the front door."
"Last January, I spent the month going out on Tinder dates. As I looked at the pictures, I would whisper: You are created in the image of God, or sometimes, You are worthy of love and belonging, whether I was swiping left or right."