First Posted 14-Feb-2015

Wikipedia says St. Valentine was a third century Roman martyr buried on the Via Flaminia close to the Milvian Bridge in Rome. Very little is known about him other than folk attach the idea of courtly love to him. By Saturday, every significant other is supposed to have been fussed over in some way. Living in Richmond, VA, the expected ways include flowers, chocolate and dinner in a sit-down restaurant without the kids. My guy friends worry about bad consequences should they choose not to fuss over their significant other. Dry holes come to mind. Frigid weather in the northeast corner of the master bedroom also seem possible. Who knows.

St. Valentine recieves a rosary from the Holy MotherFor the grumpy like me, it seems like a kind of extortion. If we don’t step up and so something nice for him/her, trouble. I’m like the idea of not stepping up, of just skipping to the trouble, frigid weather and dry holes included. However . . . a big, big part of my journey over the last 14 years or so has been a reawakening to how much we folk are creatures of relationship. We need each other.

Feel what you want about it, all of us need other folk in our lives to make the life we want possible. It’s as if part of God’s design is that we flourish best among a group, within a set of relationships. I lived for a long time with huge trust issues. One of my core beliefs was that people wanted to beat me up. It comes from the grade school years when there was truth in that belief. My marriage was a war that I ended up losing. My way to survive was to do things myself and push people away.

I found myself in a holding cell for the weekend with one other guy. It was a one -man cell that had two of us. 72 hours with nothing to do. I didn’t trust him. What was I to do, though? We talked, for two weekends, over 100 hours. My jail time could go better or worse based on how I treated my cell mate. To have a holiday in which we are asked to step out of ourselves, to consider a selfless gift to someone we care about, to be asked to give without hope of return for just one day, isn’t a big ask. It pulls me out of my safe hermitage into the messy world of other people. We should be doing this more often than one day a year. It’s a great lesson I learned that we thrive far better in relationships than we do alone. But, at least on February 14th each year we honor chivalry and courtly love in the name of a martyr who died in Rome in the 3rd Century. It’s a small thing you can do with great love. Happy Valentine’s Day!