My Junior year, bitter and decidedly romantically disinclined, a fellow member of the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club and I made t-shirts celebrating February 14 that depicted Goethe, holding a copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther under one arm and hoisting a smoking shotgun in the other, next to the dispatched corpse of a targeted cupid.
We thought it was awesome. We wore them to Songfest practice. The ladies were not impressed. Note this, my young, disinclined friends.
I’ve worked a few things out. I cancelled my membership to the aforementioned club. I’ve never owned a gun or a copy of Young Werther, for the record.
There are a lot of questionable stories of the “original” St. Valentine, but a good one is that he was a priest who persisted in performing marriages after an imperial command to stop. From his jail cell, he sent messages to prayerful supporters signed “from your Valentine.”
In our weekly prayers this morning, our friend Al Sturgeon reminded us that true love is getting down in the mess with someone else. It’s often disregarding what’s expected of you, and loving anyway. It’s often disregarding the way you’ve imagined things for yourself, and loving anyway. It’s loving the one you can see, whatever their state, and not just talking about loving the One you imagine as Love. It probably doesn’t look like chocolates and roses that much. Valentine’s Day can be one of the special days where love does, but I’ve found that love is worth it on the oatmeal and tumbleweed days, too.
Here’s the point: It’s Valentine’s Day. Some folks like it and some folks don’t. But one way to celebrate is to tell a St. Valentine story, a Jesus following story, where you just don’t care what the Emperor says, you’re going to help love happen. Even if you feel like a guy unjustly ignored in a dank prison cell, you just keep delivering the message: “I’m yours.”
That’s easy for me to say, right? Fair enough. It’s just a thought. But I’m telling you from experience, it wasn’t the unrequited love that nearly killed me. It was the self-pity.
What else are you gonna do? You can eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s any old day.