The world is full of cynicism, and too many people carry out their lives skeptical of their surroundings, with their hearts and minds closed off their hearts to the unknown possibilities that beckon. With Cupid’s favorite holiday, cynics can discover the opportunity to shed skepticism and invite positivity.
Too many of us perceive February 14th as a commercialized day, rife with falsehood and deception, lavish gifts and frivolity — for singles, a mirror image of what they believe is lacking in their lives. But cynics shouldn’t be so quick to blame Saint Valentine for their woes. Perhaps it is their own inherent struggle, too jaded and doubtful, to focus on the fundamental purpose of Valentine’s Day.
As mythology posits, Saint Valentine embarked on perhaps the greatest pursuit of all, reminding the world-over that the most powerful force on earth is love — all manifestations of love. Valentine’s Day is intertwined with romantic origins, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire when Emperor Claudius II attempted to forbid marriages. The tale’s climax surrounds its protagonist, a priest named Valentine, who succeeded in a valiant attempt to ensure young lovers would be wed in secrecy. Captured by Emperor Claudius II, Valentine, who later became a Saint, wrote letters to his distant love. It is believed that Saint Valentine died on February 14th, and in 1537, King Henry VIII declared the day an official holiday.
Saint Valentine sacrificed his life so that love could ultimately prevail. Only love can sustain itself — it is the force that touches everyone’s life — it is the reason for so much beauty and so much good that still exists. We see love in small acts of kindness, a child huddled close to her mother, hands interlocked, and hearts interwoven. It is the reason for works of art and resounding harmonies, sacrifice and courage. It cannot be mistaken, and it does not exist in simple form, solely between two lovers, but is universal and ever-reaching.
Love is truly everlasting, and to undermine a day that celebrates its poignancy is to forsake the joy sought in every day. As Valentine’s Day approaches, let it be a peaceful reminder of all that is right with the world, an opportunity to appreciate those who make life worth living. After all, “love always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.”