Joy Writing: Make Valentine’s a celebration of love, not just romance
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Feb 09, 2014 | 747 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Valentine’s Day has a love-hate relationship with many, making this Friday a dreaded day for some.

Whether because the day reminds them they haven’t found that “special someone” or because they have no idea what to do for that found special someone, many are not fond of the day.

I can relate somewhat to both scenarios.

Somehow I managed to never have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day in my adult life. I have, however, celebrated one with a fiancé.

This year I will celebrate my first Valentine’s Day with my husband, and if my deliberations over a Christmas present are any indication, I am a prime candidate to fall into the second category this year.

Many years when I was single the day passed without incident, nothing particularly making me feel extra bad or good.

However, a few from my single adult days stand out. Receiving a Scooby Doo Valentine from a drive-through customer while working at Chick-fil-A or trips to Knoxville for fun with other unmarried friends.

I was working headset at a Chick-fil-A drive-through in Maryland (that’s the person you hear when you first place your order.) At one point the drive-through cashier handed me a Valentine and said it was from a customer.

Was it a guy? I wanted to know.

Were they around my age? The cashier assured me it had not been a kid.

The Valentine was unsigned. So I have chalked it up to someone just wanting to make someone’s day special — not a secret admirer.

One year, frustrated with Valentine’s Day, my friend termed it Friendship Day and had a heart-themed party to celebrate with her close friends.

As sappy as this is going to sound, Jeremy (my husband) has done so many special things for me while we’ve been dating, engaged and married, that last Valentine’s Day doesn’t really stand out.

And I am fine with that.

Our six-month and one-year anniversaries of dating, however, are forever etched as fond memories on my mind.

Valentine’s Day started as a holiday declared by the Catholic Church to honor St. Valentine. Many legends surround the creation of the holiday and the man himself.

According to, the Catholic Church actually has three St. Valentines.

The most popular historical account that has associated itself with the St. Valentine of the holiday centers on his efforts to save biblical marriage.

The Roman emperor at the time, Claudius II, wanted a strong army. He decided that single men made better soldiers than those who were married because they did not have a wife and children to worry about.

A decree was issued outlawing marriage. This didn’t stop priest Valentine from performing marriage ceremonies in secret.

Whether he was arrested for this or for helping other Christians escape from prison is largely unknown.

What is known is that Valentine was sentenced to death.

He died for what he believed. Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 St. Valentine’s Day in the Catholic Church in the 5th century.

While I hope my life is never put in jeopardy in order to show love, sometimes it’s hard to show love. This becomes true when a person seems dead set on not accepting anything nice you do for them. However, just as love is shown to be a powerful force through Greek mythology and other images that circulate this time of year, persistent, compassionate love has been known to melt a heart of stone. In this case I am not referring to romantic love, but the love of friends or family.

Valentine’s Day can be all about love, but it doesn’t have to be just about romantic love. It can be about the love shared by family members as they spent time together. It can be celebrating being reunited with friends. It can be about the love of a parent for a child.

I remember Valentine’s Day from childhood. My dad not only got something for my mom, but he bought something for each of us girls. Sometimes it was simply a card sent through the mail even though we lived under the same roof. Sometimes it was chocolate and other times flowers.

The cards were sent even after I moved on to college.

It can be about love that chooses to forgive rather than hold on to the past. It can be a celebration of a love that St. Valentine as a priest believed in — the unending love of God to man. It can be about friendship and good conversation.

Showing love to friends and family in unique and creative ways can give them the same special feeling that receiving a Valentine or flowers does for a romantic couple.

Often I feel that the English language is sorely limited in allowing one to express the different kinds of love.

So whatever love you wish to celebrate, this Friday find a way to show it in a unique way.