The most lucrative holiday for the floral industry is history for 2012. It's likely that the roses in a million homes are starting to droop a bit or at least lose a few petals. The chocolates are probably almost gone. The romantic cards have been filed away (or tossed by the less sentimental ones). Some women are inwardly pouting because their not-so-sweetie forgot Valentine's Day.....again. Now it's back to business as usual.
Ah, yes. Business as usual. Just what did marriage look like before the Hallmark holiday put pressure on guys to spend their hard-earned money on over-priced blooms and card stock? What did romance look like before it was so....commercialized......glamorized......obligatory?
Our culture is pretty good at missing the point when it comes to holidays. A holiday to celebrate the advent of the Messiah and Savior of the world becomes a time to gather as much stress, food and merchandise as possible. The day we commemorate the death and resurrection of that Savior becomes nothing more than a hunt for Easter eggs and filling baskets with treats.
It's no surprise that we miss the point of Valentine's Day, a day meant to show a spouse how much we love them, by putting price tags on love. Love is the giving of oneself.....wholly, completely. Yet, we measure it in the number of stems in the vase and the prestige of the label on the chocolates or the number of carats in that new piece of jewelry.
He sweats and trades hours for dollars that last a much shorter time than his labor. His strong hand leads us out of the wedding chapel, grips ours during childbirth and cups the child's face as it spills tears. His eyes look deep into ours with understanding and turn quickly from she who would draw him from us. His feet walk beside ours on quiet walks, pace the floor with the colicky baby and run to our rescue.
Yes, Valentine's Day is over, but the real gift is enduring. When the roses fade and the wrinkles deepen. When the chocolates and the years are eaten up. When our most valuable metals are carried in our mouths rather than around our necks. All is well because a giving of oneself never disappoints. It's all there is to give.
This is the real business of love. The everyday giving. Giving every day. No matter what the calendar says.