• Cynthia McCarthy

Best Valentine's Day Ever

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Think about all the different Valentine’s Days you’ve experienced in your life. What was the best one?

My favorite Valentine’s Day was back in the early 80’s. I was probably eight or nine years old. My dad came home from work and said, “I got you a valentine’s day present. I hid it in the living room. I bet you’ll never find it!” (I don’t think I understood he was being sarcastic.)

This was fun. A game! A gift! I ran to the living room. I was hoping for a new stuffed animal with a heart on it—I loved stuffed animals! But I figured it was probably candy, for sure.

Nope. I was wrong. Propped up against the wall behind one of our living room chairs was a brand new red plastic sled. Huh? I was so confused. I didn’t know a sled could be a Valentine’s Day gift. It turns out, yes, it can.

Don’t get me wrong, I was actually really happy! My old sled had recently gotten a crack in it that was making it more and more difficult to use. My dad gave me something I truly loved—and something I couldn’t wait to use! He was expressing love for me, his child, by a) fixing my problem, and b) gifting me something that would bring me joy.

This was the first time I realized that dads could give their kid a Valentine’s Day gift. Yes, they can. Love between parent and child is just one of many expressions of human love.

I remember feeling so…well, LOVED at that moment, that I swore if I ever had kids I would always get them Valentine’s Day presents. Turns out I grew up and had three kids, and I still do this—even now that they’re 17, 20, and 21! And the gifts are usually random, semi-practical, silly things that bring them joy. (Like rice crispy treats, socks with hearts on them, or new oven mitts.) The more random the gift the better, I say. Who cares? I can show my love any way I want! That’s the beauty of being human.

I know a man in his fifties who still sends all four of his adult children those goofy paper valentines little kids hand out in school. He snail mails one to each of them every year and always signs it “Secret Admirer.” Sometimes he’ll put a dollar bill or a stick of gum inside the envelope. It’s become the ongoing family joke, but they love and appreciate it. We can show our love any way we want.

Valentine’s Day makes me nostalgic for all the simple ways we can show love for others—from the little kid valentines, candy and flowers, to quality time and affection. The red hearts that pop up all over the place this time of year remind me of all the opportunities and ways we can express our love.

It is the core message of Jesus’ teaching, right, that whole "love your neighbor” thing? (Mark 12:31)

FYI, “neighbor” just means “a fellow human being”—A.K.A. everyone and anyone. So let’s do this! Why not love your neighbor today? Love your ANYONE. Be creative! Be unexpected! Be silly! LOVE is the operative word. Think again about the best Valentine's Day you ever had, and how it made you feel. Don't you want other people to experience that feeling to? Love others, even on days other than Valentine’s Day!

All beings want to be loved. Who can you love today?


Rev Cynthia

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