When I got onto Facebook this morning, I was quickly reminded it was Valentine's Day because everyone had written one of two kinds of status updates: There were happy couples expressing love for one another, as well as singles wishing everyone else a happy day . . . and then there were those who talked about how much they hate this holiday, some calling it "Singles Awareness Day" in jest. All my friends were divided about half and half along this line.
I have no intention of being preachy or judgmental, because all of these are my friends and the way they feel toward something doesn't change the way I feel toward them. I love each of them, and would never even consider forcing anything upon them. But it really, really bothers me when people make a day like Valentine's Day all about themselves, and announce their bitterness to the world. In a world where the concepts of love and marriage are corrupted more with each passing day, I think it's wonderful to get online and see couples saying how much they love each other. It's great to go out and see them with each other, just spending time together. And it breaks my heart to hear other people accusing them of "rubbing it in" or "being gross," because that's not what these couples are doing. When did it become wrong to celebrate happiness?
I will admit that until just a few days ago, I was also one who would jokingly wish everyone a happy "Singles Awareness Day." I figured, Hey, I'm single, so changing the name of the holiday gives me something to celebrate. But anyone who says that has completely missed the point. And oh, how I missed the point. I was thinking only of myself.
My attitude changed over the weekend, thanks to an Institute devotional on Friday. The speaker was a woman who, at 45, had never been married. And everything she had to say immediately applied to us, the group of young also-single adults in attendance. Many of her words involved not being bitter over being single, but instead living a full and rich life by living the Gospel and serving others. Even though she had spent all this time not married, she was happy. She was living the Gospel, and she was happy.
The whole message was wonderful; I wish everyone could have been there. But what hit me the most was her position on "Singles Awareness Day." She talked about how very selfish it is to say something like that, and how those who do are only thinking of themselves. Very bold words. I had never looked at it that way, but I realized that I, too, was guilty of selfishness.
Yet in reality, no one on this entire planet is unloved, so we all have a reason to celebrate. Why?
I'm single, but there is still much for me to celebrate. I can use this day to spread the love our Heavenly Father has for His children. I can visit someone who is lonely. I can perform kind acts of service. Valentine's Day has never been and never will be about me. It's about loving other people. For many, that's a spouse, or a boyfriend, or a girlfriend. For others, it's family and friends. For God, it's everyone.
And so from now on, whether or not I'm in a relationship, I'll always look forward to Valentine's Day because of what it truly means.