Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love and the friendships in our lives. Many of us are prepping and thinking about what to get (or do for) our significant others, friends, and children. Unfortunately for me, my husband will be on the other side of the world for this love-ly (pun intended) holiday. I intended to write this post about expressing love to your significant other, despite the distance. But in the end, this post had to take a different turn, because my perspective on Valentine’s Day took a different turn.
Love Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate
A few weeks ago, I received a news of the untimely passing of a high school friend, David. His passing was not sudden, per se. He was diagnosed with cancer last summer, and the prognosis was not good.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It didn’t care that David was only 30 years old or that he had three children (two under the age of four); it didn’t care that he had plans and dreams for his future.
We weren’t particularly close, and the last time I saw him was sometime back in high school. That, however, did not diminish the shock and unadulterated sadness that came from learning of his death. It may sound cliche to say that he was such a great guy — he really was — because things like these are almost always said of people when they pass.
David was different, though. I don’t remember every conversation we had or the classes we took together, but what I do remember is how kind and positive he was — like, all the time! What was most admirable was his unwavering faith in Christ. It radiated from him.
The way he lived his life demonstrated very clearly the love he had for Christ. David may have been dying, but in the midst of it all he still managed to speak life into those around him. He did to me.
Back to my Valentine’s post about showing love to someone who isn’t physically close on Valentine’s Day. While there are so many great things that I could have written about, once I received the news of David’s passing, I felt foolish.
Here I am thinking of the fancy dinner I won’t have with my husband — thinking of how terrible it will be without the romantic evening I wanted to spend with him. All the while David’s wife doesn’t have the luxury of knowing he’ll eventually be back, because he won’t. I don’t know what she’s going through, and I’m both despondent and ashamed to admit that I never want to know. It’s ironic how quickly our own “terrible” circumstances are put into perspective when our baseline comparison is death.
I don’t want to dishearten or discourage anyone from celebrating Valentine’s Day.
On the contrary, I want to encourage you to love fearlessly and wholeheartedly every single day.
If you have nothing else to give your friends, children or significant other, you can give them one of these things. Its doesn’t cost you a thing and you can give it freely and in abundance. Lastly, if you don’t feel loved on Valentine’s Day (or any other day), I want you know that you are loved more than you know.
5 Ways to Make Valentine’s Day Really Count
- Tell those you love exactly what they mean to you. It doesn’t have to be eloquent, but in your own words let them know as often as possible why they are important to you. Life is way to short, and it can change in an instant. Don’t leave anything left unsaid — even if it isn’t perfect.
- Forget about the petty things. I don’t know who invented this rule, but it’s called the 5×5 rule. If it’s not going to matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it. Simple as that.
- Forgive. This is a touchy one (I know), but sometimes people mess up — including yourself. Don’t let one mistake ruin a good thing. The quicker you learn to forgive, the quicker you’ll be happy.
- Be present. Look up from your phone or tablet. Talk to your spouse. Spend time with you children. Disconnect from the world to be present with those you love. There is nothing more precious that you can give to someone than giving them your time and attention.
- Live like you were dying. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve all heard the song by Tim McGraw. We get it. But, really. Think about it. What would you do if you were told you only have six months to live? Would you quit that job? Or leave that abusive relationship? Would you take that trip? Or spend more time with your parents and children? What would you have the courage to do if you lived like you were dying?