Not much is known about St. Valentine. He apparently lived in Rome during the third century and was martyred. The Catholic Church celebrated his feast day on February 14 until 1969, when he was replaced with Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Can you imagine if we bought cards and wished people “Happy Saints Cyril and Methodius Day”? It doesn’t roll off the tongue.
For the secular world, Valentine’s Day is still a thing. We buy chocolate, make cut-out hearts and, if we’re lucky enough to have one, swoon over our significant other. I’ve heard some really wonderful stories today that had nothing to do with the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day, although they had a lot to do with love.
One of my Facebook friends leaves the house on February 14 with a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards in her purse. She hands them out to random people. Today, she gave one to a woman at the hair salon, who cried and was so appreciative because her loved one was deceased. This evening, I read about Valentine’s Day cards that had been left at a shelter. They were given to children who have been facing homelessness.
These two stories are so heartwarming, and yet they make me a little bit upset with myself. I think about all the years when I didn’t have someone with whom I could celebrate Valentine’s Day. What did I do? I probably went to a bar and drowned my sorrows or stayed at hom and sulked while watching “Wheel of Fortune.”
Think about what I could have been doing all that time. I could have been handing out valentines to strangers, visiting sick kids in the hospital, giving Hershey kisses to people at nursing homes. Instead, I spent probably 10 Valentine’s Days consumed with self-pity. Stupid hindsight.
Well, there’s no way to redo those years so I’ll have to move forward. Maybe next February 14, I can think about other people who might need a heart and a hug more than I do. Maybe I can wish them a “Happy Saints Cyril and Methodius Day” and bring extra happiness into their lives.