Okay, sure: the gross consumerism; the emphasis on romantic love that excludes single and/or lonely people; flowers, chocolate, gold, and diamonds from countries that exploit child labor or slave labor and/or strip the land; the branding of Valentine cards by Disney or Dora or whoever; the “guilt tax” to send a card or buy a gift; the hurt feelings at school when no card comes from Joey or Christie; the phoniness of expressing love on one day out of the year; the unavoidable exposure to too much sugar …
Okay, okay, okay!
Still … could it be simply a reminder about love, about the need for universal love, or a chance to say “I love you” when we have a hard time reaching out otherwise, including—no, especially—non-romantically? Could it be more about John Lennon’s vision than about couples going out to dinner or someone buying one person a tennis bracelet?
I saw a video recently about a man in India who radiates pure love. A story about him on CNN last year reported, “Narayanan Krishnan was an ambitious, award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. One day, he saw an old man eating his own human waste for food by the roadside. Haunted by the image, Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny. Now 29, he has served more than 1.2 million meals to India’s homeless.”
See this short video report on him:
I was so moved by the images of this young man hand-feeding others, wiping faces, hugging, cutting hair, and honoring others’ worth as humans. What a heart he has. He said, “Food in one part. Love is another part.” He said, “Everybody has 5.5 liters of blood.” In other words: we are the same; we are all lovable, deserving of love.
It’s not possible or practical for all of us to quit our jobs and feed the homeless, but we can reach out to others in small, do-able ways. Love can take many forms! Showing love doesn’t have to be dramatic or heroic or all-consuming. It can be a little gesture, greeting, smile, kindness, or thumbs-up.
And it should include loving self! Even if it’s only a heart drawn in the steam on the bathroom mirror, certain to disappear soon, we can temporarily quiet the critical inner voices or the anxiety and give ourselves a moment of love, a little Valentine.
I like the notion of big love, One Love, and can see Valentine’s Day as simply a marker of that notion, not simply about people pairing up and being complacent in an exclusive kind of love. I’m sure it’s pollyannish, naïve, but I don’t care. I still like that heart symbol, the word “love,” and the vibrant colors when the sun is hiding.