I think we all cringe a little around Valentine’s Day. The commercialism. The pressure. The false intimacy. Words are abundant…and cheap. We can buy a card, or ten cards, that say the “perfect thing.” But not anything we’d ever actually say.
Understandably, we often swing the other way and avoid participating in the hoopla as much as humanly possible. Restraint feels more authentic than the store-bought, cartoon-like emotionalism all around us.
But I propose an alternative this year. Let’s not ignore the big awkward elephant of February. Let’s embrace it. Or better yet, reclaim it.
Let’s tap into that desire that we all have to connect with the people that mean something to us, in a way that means something to them.
And let’s think…the kind of thinking that is becoming rare as it is increasingly outsourced. There are reasons why your person is “your person.” Tell them. In your words. Let them hear your voice when they open their card this year.
There is an intentionality to a well-thought-out message that rings true, not only to our loved ones, but to ourselves, as well. We need to think these things, to say these things, as much as they need to be heard.
February, with its short days and long nights, invites a slowing down and contemplation as part of the natural rhythm of life. The warmth of home calls us in, and we enter to shed the layers of the day. It’s as if nature knows our need for seasons of stripping away what’s on the surface and reflecting on what we find when we ask the right questions.
This year, take one of those long evenings, get your card and a pen, find a seat by a window, light a candle, and create space for you to think seriously about that person you share your life with.
I think gratitude is always a good place to start. When were you grateful for them this past year? Why?
When did you laugh together? What happened?
When did you need them and find them there?
What hard thing did you walk with them through this year? What good thing?
What do you wish you had done differently for them, with them? What do you plan to do differently this year?
When you think about why you chose to be with them, what comes to mind? What is it about them that draws you to them?
Because the fastest way to the intimacy of connection is truth that is born out of love.
You are the only one that perceives your loved ones as you do, the only one that has the particular experiences with them that you have, the only one that can relate to them what you see when you see them.
Don’t underestimate the value of your voice in your loved ones’ lives.
Be the guy who writes the cards that they keep in a little box in their drawer because the words feel so much like you, and them, and you together.