Just who is St. Valentine, and what is the purpose of this holiday? My inquisitive mind had to know the answer, so I wiki'd it. A man named Valentinus, was martyred by the Roman emperor in the third century AD, before his death healed his jailer's blind daughter, was dubbed a Saint by Pope Gelasius in 496AD, and Hallmark is eternally grateful. There are 190 million V-day cards sent annually, unknown amounts of candy and presents, and thousands of solidified relationships resulting from this holiday. Of course we men, while courting our girl, know the importance of gift and card giving, until we've been married. Then we ignore this "lovers" day when possible. Women tend to measure the depth of their man's love by his attention to this holiday. The more he spends, the greater the depth of his love.
When I was in grade school, we had the ritual of passing out V-day cards to our classmates. I paid special attention to the valentine I received from the girl I set my heart on. If that card didn't have a special message on it, I felt my love was in vain, I was devastated! There was always the girl I didn't like, who gave me the valentine with the special message. I would try to escape her for the rest of the school year. Puppy love is hard, actually the hardest. In our youth we develop our understanding about hate, love, good, bad, etc. When we are fully grown, those feelings remain a part of our psyche. The hurts are engrained deep in us.
Early in our lives, the importance of our parents influence, and how they think, their likes and dislikes, the foods they eat, they places they enjoy, actually everything about them, become a part of us. If they are attempting to communicate what their child needs regarding life and living, many of the petty predjudices and the feelings we grow in to, are hopefully forgotten, and not to be regarded with any significance as adults. This is mainly due to much of what we learn is based on traditional outdated knowledge, not virtues. Much is taught in innocent ignorance. Good values taught early in life, reflect in adulthood. Unfortunately, the parents must deliver their life-lessons continually, and few are willing to do so. It's tough.
Back to Valentine's day and love. We have, in this society, developed a strange view of love. We bunch up sex, affection, attraction, friendship, into the word "love." Our understanding of true love has been defined by Hollywood, through the ficticious lives of Scarlett and Rhett, Bogey and Bacall, Pitt/Annison/Jolie, etc. Lust, to the movie world, is love. If Hollywood says so, it's so. Today, we have an entire generation, as in my generation, made the choice of non-commital in relationships, choosing to live together, instead of uniting in "holy matrimony." We have decided that a "one night stand," another non-commitment, is the "no hurt," way of life. So, in relationships, if we remain a free agent, we gratify our sensual desires, without worry of tomorrow, kind of "cling-free." If it feels good, do it, with no regard to the others feelings.
I think I understand why I personally have had past struggle with "matrimony." To words come to mind. Fear and a two letter word spelled...M,E. I feared not being committed, so without thought, I made half-commitments. I'm in this for what I get out of it. Which led me to feel that I could mold my wife into my picture of what she should be. Control doesn't work. My emotions controlled my understanding that lust was love, and my values told me I must prove it at the altar. In the back of my head, I guess the notion of "if she doesn't conform, divorce is legal" loomed. Unbelievable. It was all about me.
I am grateful to have a bit more understanding today, by God's grace. God saw my confusion and led me into an understanding that my life is to be about everyone else, not about me. Thus, my definition of love had to agree with His. Check this out:
Love is patient, kind, not envious, boastful, or conceited. Love doesn't act improperly,
nor is selfish, and doesn't keep a record of wrongs, and doesn't like things that's not
right, but loves the truth. Love bears everything, believes everything, hopes for and
endures all, Love never fails. 1Cor.13:4-8 (my paraphrase)
Real love, according to the Word of Truth and Life, informed me that if I want to experience real love, I had to show real love...God's way. This is His way of loving, as He displayed by giving Christ, His son, to redeem man from his sin. I see today that love isn't based on what you do for me, but what He's done for me through Jesus. I am incapable of loving you or anyone, without His indwelling presence in my life. Love isn't a hit and run affair. Love isn't, "okay you're pregnant, sure I'll marry ya kid," attitude. Love is unconditional, and defined above.
I know we are easily led to believe that the way we were brought up is correct in defining everything in life. The truth is, everything we're taught should be challenged. Not rebelliously, not in disbelief. The reason for challenge is to know that through godly knowledge, life's problems can be defined through God's perspective, and save ourselves from much grief. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith...Happy birthday Aaron!