I was 14 years, and I hoped I would get a valentines card from the guy I simply adored, the day arrived, and nothing, all my friends were delighted with what seemed like their 2 - 10 cards - and I had nothing. I felt worthless, jealous and raw.
What would I say to the 14 year old girl now?
"You don’t have to be loved to be happy"
The original meaning of Valentines was all about - acts of kindness, giving love rather than receiving. Instead of how many valentines cards did you receive? Could we ask who did you show love too yesterday?
How do you love?
Do we just love those we find attractive, fun and cute? People similar to us? Or is love deeper than that? Its the moments when we get out of our comfort zone to show kindness (love) to those that need it most.
We spent Valentines Day with friends, who have adopted a pigeon chick found in their garden. I have to say its one of the ugly birds I have seen, and my thoughts on pigeons are they are dirty, and annoying pests. Yet I was challenged, if the brown ugly bird was yellow, fluffy and cute - would I want to give it cuddles and care for it? Our children, simply adored the chick, wanting to feed, stroke and care for it. They showed me their definition of love, which had no prejudgements.
The first valentines day was a about Bishop Valentines who in the Roman times, stood up for married soldiers wanting to still serve in the Army. He was captured and the night before his beheading, sent a card to his true love. It's a story about a man that stood up for others, and gave his love.
Recently there was a study in US were they asked a group of people to remember a time when you spend a significant amount of money on yourself and then remember a time when you spent the same amount of money on someone else, the result? We get more satisfaction from giving than receiving. This study supports the definition - love is simply - making someone happy.
Maybe love is about giving without any expectations of gaining in return?
South Africa has to be one of the friendliest places I have been in. I constantly feel love from people who cheerily greet me whilst Im out running in the the mornings, who stop to ask the names of my children, want to have a cuddle with our newborn baby, or the person who gives me right of way in a traffic jam after waiting for what seems like hours. Its the small daily actions of my family - my husband that cancels his squash game to come to a networking event with me, a glance from one of my children who is excited to see me at school pick up. A simple smile and interest in your community, goes a long way.
Maybe this is love:
This last week was also the first week of Lent, a time when traditionally Christians give something up. The past 6 years a movement called 40 Acts started in the UK challenging people to do Lent generously, showing love to their community each and every day.
"In 2015 over 74,000 joined the challenge, creating a wave of over 2.9 million acts of generosity in more than 180 countries worldwide."
This is a great video from 2015 - but I never get tired of watching it, captures the true meaning of love in all its forms.